Rock 'n' Roll in Brisbane Town









A series 

of excerpts 

from the

Courier Mail

Courier Mail 5 March 1956

Johnnie Arrives in 6 Days

Hurry Book Now

for good seats

Lee Gordon presents in person

Johnnie Ray, with

Leslie Lyon- “The sensation of last year’s Frankie Lane Show.”

The Holy Sisters- “The Dancing Darlings.”

Peg-Leg Bates- “You have to see him to believe him.”

Lola Dee- “Songs in the modern manner.”


Ringside- 39/-

Terrace- 19/-

General- 15/-

Show Dates.

Monday 12th March 1956

Tuesday 13th March 1956

Book now at Music Masters, Palings, Morrows (the Valley)

The Big Show, Brisbane Stadium



Courier Mail Monday 12 March 1956

5000 Welcomed Cry Crooner

        More than 5000 people swarmed into Eagle Farm Airport yesterday afternoon to shout a “Hi Johnnie” welcome to American cry and coma crooner Johnnie Ray.

        Ray fans smashed airport building windows and scrambled on to the “igloo” roofs to catch a glimpse of the singer when he stepped from the plane and was swept into the airport reception room. When crowds broke barriers and threatened to surge on to the tarmac, police cordons struck out with canes and drove them back with heavy shouldering.

        Among the uproar Ray was “sandwiched” by two policemen and almost carried upright to the shelter of the airport terminal buffet.

        In the buffet the shaken crooner nervously smoked a cigarette and touched his hearing aid while he sat at one of the tables regaining his breath and composure.

        “This sure is a mighty demonstration. It’s so mighty of my fans to come out in the wet to meet me. I’m not worried about myself, but I hope none of them get hurt,” Ray said.

        Just as he spoke a youth outside shoved his head through the glass window of the buffet. Glass shattered everywhere but the youth escaped injury.

        As Ray’s car was leaving the airport, milling fans were trapped but not hurt between the car and a stationary vehicle which nearly overturned in the crush. Brisbane’s teenagers turned out in their thousands in driving rain to see the singer.

        “I’ve seen him three times. Three Times!” one little widgie squealed excitedly. “It’s wonderful!”

        Ray, dressed in casual unspectacular sportswear, spoke in a soft hesitant voice to the crowd over the airport amplifier system.

        “It sure is wonderful of you to come and meet me in the rain. It’s overwhelming and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”


Courier Mail Thursday 15 March 1956

Emotion of some Ray fans is ‘dangerous’

By Peter Trundle

        What is the cause of that phenomenon- the Brisbane teenager suddenly half hysterical and running berserk in public after sob-crooner Johnnie Ray?

        It happened again this week at Brisbane Airport where Ray was nearly smothered by the enthusiasm of thousands of his young fans.

        So, scratching our head savagely, and muttering, we went away to put the “Why” of Johnnie Ray to four people: The Courier Mail’s Medical Mother, a church youth department director, a psychologist, and an intelligent teenager of 17.

        Medical Mother said: “The teenagers are looking for a hero to whom they can devote themselves. Johnnie Ray, to them, probably personifies romance- a subject they like to talk and think about.”

        Medical Mother said that the uncontrolled emotion of many Ray fans was dangerous. It was a sign of instability. She said that teenagers needed some great national idea, personified in an attractive leader, to which they could devote their enthusiasm.

Sport Needed

        “Teenagers need to be kept busy with sport, education, and other healthy interests,” Medical Mother said.

        Mr. N. F. Nelson, Director of Youth of the Presbyterian Church, said: “Many young people today feel that, with the world so chaotic, they have very little on which to fasten their future. They are groping around. They seize upon the excitement of the moment.” Mr. Nelson said that the unruly actions of many teenagers resulted from a lack of discipline in the home.

        “This laxity goes back a long way. It began after the first world war,” he said. “As a result, many parents today are lacking in self discipline. They cannot manage themselves.”

        Our psychologist is Miss E. Harwood, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Queensland University. A “form of mass hysteria” and “part and parcel of a mob psychology” was how Miss Harwood described the uproar reported at Brisbane Airport on Sunday.

        “I think it was due to a fairly natural desire by young people to be part of the group,” she said. “Their actions were probably imitative of what they thought that a teenager should be. They were probably trying to copy their United States counterparts.”

        “Screaming in the presence of Ray was probably due to a wish to relax usual behaviour, which the teenager might consider was too restrained.”

        Our teenager, a fan of Johnnie Ray, is pretty Robyn Brown, a typist, who is studying in her spare time for the Senior Examination. Ray autographed her student’s copy of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

        “Why are you a fan of Johnnie Ray?” we asked her.


        “He has a colossal personality,” she said. “His voice sends you. His singing style is all his own. The other singers are so ordinary.”

        “Why do some teenagers squeal when Ray sings?”

        “They are starved for attention. By squealing they show themselves off.”

        Robyn continued: “Teenagers like to be taken notice of. Johnnie does that. He flatters them.”

Courier Mail 31 May 1956

New Control for Boy- Girl Dances

        Melbourne: An Intermediate Certificate will be the minimum qualification to secure an invitation to G.P.S. dances and parties in Melbourne from now on. (An Intermediate Certificate in Victoria is equivalent to the Junior Certificate in Queensland).

        The parties are to start at 8pm and end not later than 11.30pm and should be inexpensive to the host or hostess. These proposals are among a number in an open letter sent to parents of G.P.S. scholars by the headmasters and headmistresses of independent schools of Victoria. They recommend that school holiday parties should have adequate adult supervision. They also recommend that:

·                   Boys and girls should meet as many different partners as possible;

·                   The dances should be by invitation;

·                   The band should be limited to three piece;

·                   Parents should discourage parties in their own homes after the dance;

·                   Parents of girls should call for their daughters after the dance rather than have boys hire a taxi and then face a long tram ride home.


Courier Mail Thursday 14 June 1956

Bodgies Police in Fight

        Melbourne: Police fought with a bodgie gang in Coles’ Store, Bourke Street, City at lunch time yesterday. They hustled 21 bodgies and 9 widgies from the store’s record bar, where the teenagers had been disrupting shopping. Earlier police broke up another gang of 30 which was playing football in Swanston Street, disrupting traffic. It was the second time this week that police had been called to remove bodgies and widgies from big city stores. A big crowd watched the police wrestling with the gang yesterday and traffic was held up outside Coles’ store. A police spokesman said last night that some bodgie gangs were now armed with knuckledusters, knives and bludgeons. They were becoming a serious menace.


Courier Mail Saturday 16 June 1956

Police Drive in City on Bodgies and Widgies

        Consorting Squad detectives in Brisbane yesterday questioned about 100 “bodgies and widgies” in a day and night drive to learn their activities and means of livelihood. Dozens were warned about their association with known criminals. Last nights drive was a special move following news from Melbourne that police and bodgies had fought in a city store. Senior police officers have told detectives that similar happenings are not to be allowed to occur in Brisbane. yesterday several detectives visited city stores holding sales, and mingled with large crowds. They warned off groups of teenagers moving through some of the stores. Last night Consorting Squad detectives, T (Terry) Lewis, T. Costello, B. Barrett, and R. Breakwell visited Brisbane dance halls, wine saloons and the Stadium. Several youths with “bodgie” hair cuts were charged with drunkenness. In a tour of Brisbane and inner suburbs, the detectives questioned more than 100 youths and girls. Several girls were advised against their association with youths, and four youths were “booked” for consorting.


Courier Mail Monday 20 August 1956


        A small determined group of young Inala residents is setting out to disprove rumours that the satellite town is a bodgie widgie haunt. Led by teenager Miss Mary Maguire and aided by Progress Association officials, the group has established a youth club open to youths and girls between the ages of 14 and 25. The club aims to promote cultural, social and sporting activities, among the youth of Inala.

        Last night, the club’s 10 member committee (six youths and four girls) met to plan future activities for the satellite town’s young men and women.

“A minority”

        Inala Progress Association Secretary (Mr. K. Brown) who attended last night’s meeting, afterwards said that a “wild minority” had earned Inala its bodgie widgie reputation.

        Mr. Brown said that the Youth Club was a follow up to the Boys’ Club which was established some months ago, and now had 250 members.

        “But we are handicapped by the fact that there is no public hall at Inala which the clubs can use,” he said. He appealed for donations of sporting equipment for the Youth Club

Courier Mail Thursday 6 September 1956

Letters to the Editor

Blaming Parents is Slightly Ridiculous

Although still in my early forties, I fear that I am no longer young at heart because I cannot sympathise with the average teenager’s expectations that everything in the garden should be rosy.

While concerned about the dissatisfaction among most teenagers, I think that the continual stress on parental failure is becoming slightly ridiculous. Teenagers should take more advice from their parents instead of “following the leader.” Mothers are only human and therefore admittedly make our share of mistakes. This is balanced by our love for our children.

We are in the unfortunate position of being “the corrector in chief,” and very often the “spoil sport.” The average mother’s life is one of sacrifice for her children. I would suggest to teenagers that mothers may be likened to camels. They are mostly burdened with financial worries beyond the ken of teenagers. Most mothers around the 40 mark are certainly not at their physical best, often as a direct result of child rearing, and this constant wail of “It is your fault” may well prove the last straw. Most teenagers have the best education that their parents can afford, a good home, and love. Let them repay some of their debts by a more cheerful and considerate attitude to their parents, easing some of their worries, and worry less about their own very vague dissatisfactions.

“Mother of five”

Chiswick Street,



Courier Mail Monday 10 September 1956

Letters to the Editor

Bodgie Faults are not to be blamed on our children


        If parents and other adults are not to blame for teenage misbehaviour, then who is?

        Children born within the last 20 years are no worse, and no better, congenitally than at any other period. If their behaviour is worse, it can only be the result of the training and example they receive from adults.

        It is adult greed that is responsible for the production of radio programmes, literature and films. Not to a standard suitable, healthy and enjoyable to youngsters, but to a low standard which they believe that children want, however over stimulating and unwholesome it may be for them.

        Naturally the youngsters grow up with an appetite for this type of entertainment, and are susceptible to its influence.

        It is adult greed which started the teenage cult, stressing teenage fads and fashions. Adults profit by the bodgie cult, in the manufacture and sale of “bodgie” clothing. While these evil influences flourish unchecked, it is the individual responsibility of parents and teachers to counteract them by every means. The best means, of course, are self discipline and a good example, and kindly and loving but firm teaching in obedience.

Mrs. Margaret J. Bird,

15 Llewellyn Street,

New Farm.


Courier Mail Thursday 13 September 1956

Riot in London. Two Police Hurt in Rock ‘n’ Roll

        London- September 12 (AAP) two policemen were injured last night in trying to disperse a “rock 'n' roll” riot of teenagers and Teddy Boys in South London. Singing and jiving teenagers had started a street “rocking” session after a performance in a local cinema of “Rock Around the Clock.”

        This jazzy American film has caused similar disturbances all over Britain. Bottles and fireworks were thrown, and four shop windows were smashed. One policeman was detained for a time in hospital. Nine people were arrested. Some will appear at Tower Bridge Magistrates Court and others at East London Juvenile Court later today.

Crowds began to form after the performance of “Rock Around the Clock”, and when police intervened, they formed jiving groups, fighting and rioting broke out.

Two Lancashire towns, Blackburn and Preston, yesterday banned the showing of “Rock Around the Clock.”

The Town Clerk of Blackburn (Mr. F. Squires) said the ban was on the ground that the film contained matter likely to lead to public disorder. A cinema manager at Brentwood, Essex, has cancelled the film, which was to have been shown at his cinema on September 27.

In Manchester yesterday where there were riots during a showing of the film at the weekend, officials at the Gaiety Cinema “vetted” a queue waiting for admission and turned some youths away. In Bootle, Lancashire, police used batons to shepherd a gang of 1000 shouting screaming youngsters, after 500 of them left a “Rock ‘n’ Roll” cinema. In London yesterday, other “rock 'n' rollers” were fined for their parts in weekend outbreaks, in which, witnesses said, they:

(a)          poured out of a cinema in a horde, ran about the streets and halted traffic;

(b)          blocked pavements as they jived and sang;

(c)          jostled passersby and behaved insultingly.

Fines ranged from 10/- to £2.

One magistrate said: “I personally think it is a pity that you have to be brought into court. It would be better if the police were allowed to deal with you in the way which would give you something to rock 'n' roll about for a bit.”



Courier Mail Friday 14 September 1956


Rock 'n' roll

        Young enthusiasts need not feel too disturbed at the scientific test reported from Liverpool, in which six chimpanzees turned up their noses at Rock 'n' roll music. This does not prove that Rock 'n' roll is no good. Not a bit of it. It does open up the possibility though that chimpanzees have finer feelings than we have given them credit for up to date.


Courier Mail Wednesday 19 September 1956

The Queen sees Rock 'n' roll Film

        London. September 18. (AAP)- Queen Elizabeth has asked to see the film “Rock Around the Clock” which has led to rock 'n' roll disturbances in several British towns.

        A copy of the film was sent from London yesterday to Balmoral, where the Queen is on holiday, the Daily Mirror said today.

        The Daily Express reported that showings of “Rock Around the Clock” has been banned  by country councils in Stockport, Cheshire, and Gloucestershire yesterday.

        But at Burt St. Edmunds in Suffolk, no objections were raised by members of a watch committee after a private showing of the film.

        Sir Malcolm Sargeant, conductor of the BBC symphony orchestra, said to day that rock 'n' roll music was “nothing more than an exhibition of primitive tom tom thumping, and was ‘centuries old’. It was not ‘new and wonderful’ as many young people thought. It had been played in the jungles for centuries.”


Courier Mail Wednesday 19 September 1956

Letters to the Editor


        As the police are so assiduous in raiding Bingo games which do little if any harm, I should like to know why we never hear of houses of ill repute being raided? I understand that they are also illegal?

“Fair Play”

Highgate Hill.


Courier Mail Thursday 20 September 1956

10 in Hospital in Rock Riot

        New York. September 19 (AAP) A “rock 'n' roll” riot broke out last night at the enlisted men’s club at the Newport Naval Base, Rhode Island. Police said that both white and Negro servicemen attended a dance there. But they were unable to determine whether it was a racial riot.

        Police estimated that nearly 2000 people were at the “rock 'n' roll” session.

        In Hollywood yesterday, Bill Haley, the rock 'n' roll star, said that he was “very honoured” that Queen Elizabeth had asked for a special showing of his film, “Rock Around the Clock.”

        Haley is making a successor to “Rock Around the Clock” which now is causing a furore among British audiences.

        “I feel that there is no harm in the picture, and the Queen will realise it,” he said.

        Haley said that he hoped to have a chance to play before Queen Elizabeth when he goes to England for a series of “one night stands” next February.

        Haley described his music as “young and happy- just for teenagers to dance to and let off a little steam.”

        “Any other effect is exaggerated,” he said.


Courier Mail Friday 28 September 1956

Rule on Sin of Kissing

        London: Kissing between unmarried and unrelated people was a venial sin, if it created immediate carnal pleasure. The Vatican inspired pastoral magazine, Palestra Del Clero, has reported this.

        It was a mortal sin if it heralded further sexual acts, it said.

        Kisses between husband and wife, or relative, were not sinful if the intention was pure.

        The magazine, which is published in Rome, was quoting church theologians who had been asked for a ruling in the case of a 15 year old boy who had confessed to kissing his girlfriend passionately.

        A priest had said that he was guilty of a mortal sin, but a second priest had been of the opinion that the boy’s action was not such a grave sin.

        The theologians based their ruling on pronouncements on kissing made by Popes Clement the Fifth (1305 to 1314) and Pope Alexander the Seventh (1655 to 1657).


Courier Mail 2 October 1956

        The Davy Crockett film currently in cinemas was creating a demand for coon skin hats…among young boys.


Courier Mail Wednesday 3 October 1956

Gang Violence in New York

        New York: October 2 (AAP)- Four teenage members of an “Elvis Presley Club” were charged today with having murdered a member of a rival “rock 'n' roll” gang. In Court they wore side lever “Presley haircuts” and matching slacks and coats of green and black.

        “These are Elvis’ favourite colours,” one of them told a Judge.

        The four youths, members of a Harlem gang called the “Noble Englishmen,” stabbed a member of the rival “Robins” gang in a weekend gang battle. They told police that the argument started when some Robins insulted their singing style.

Pyjama Party.

        In London, bluebloods rocked and rolled in their pyjamas in West End last night. Among them was Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, in pyjamas of the palest blue.

        The party, planned as a “rock 'n' roll binge of the year,” was given by Ilsa Rivett-Carnac, daughter of Vice-Admiral Carnac, and Valerie Petrie, a friend of Lord Moynihan’s son, Tony.

        All guests arrived in pyjamas, nighties or panties, and the party was termed a great success.

        And in Chicago, when a radio station presented a continuous 12 hour concert of Presley records yesterday, one woman said that she wanted to hang out her washing but couldn’t because she might miss a song, and another said that her baby, usually crying all morning, slept while Presley sang.


Courier Mail Monday 8 October 1956

The Roll is Rocking US Music

            Sydney: Rock 'n' roll music was “the worst thing that ever happened to America and American music.” Top US drummer, Buddy Rich, said this last night.

        “It’s terrible,” said Rich, who arrived with his wife and baby daughter for a 10 week theatrical tour.

        “The kids over there are now carrying knives, guns, and switchblades. This music has encouraged a wave of juvenile delinquency.”

        “No one in America likes it. It’s set music back 100 years over there.”

        Rich added: “Following the success of Elvis Presley, there’s a bunch of hillbilly kids cropping up now cashing in on the Presley style. Unfortunately the impact is with the younger kids. Older people regard it as a joke. Anyway let’s hope it’s just a flash in the pan. In six month’s time, it might be just another funny name like Li’l Abner, and that’s where they ought to send it to- back to Dogpatch.”

        Rich will appear with other American entertainers, Stan Freberg, Don Cornell and Joe “Fingers” Carr at Brisbane Stadium on October 18.

        Preaching at St. John’s Cathedral, Brisbane, last night, Canon I. F. Church said that in his earlier years, St. Francis of Assisi had resembled a certain young Englishman at present in Australia, who had a n inclination towards rock 'n' roll music. He said that the world, remembered St. Francis, for the great belief in God that obsessed him.


Courier Mail Wednesday 10 October 1956

Rock 'n' roll at Birthday

        London. October 9. (AAP) Rock 'n' roll rhythm will echo around a stately Buckinghamshire home tonight at the 21st birthday party of the Duke of Kent. The Duke likes rock 'n' roll and the Queen, who will be a guest, has recently shown an interest in it.


Courier Mail Wednesday 10 October 1956

Singer and “figure” co-stars in film


        Hollywood. October 10. Bosomy actress Jayne Mansfield and Rock 'n' roll singer Elvis (“The Pelvis”) Presley will co-star in a film entitled “The Love Machine.

        A Twentieth Century Fox spokesman said that no script had been written but that the plan was for a comedy “taking advantage of his singing and her figure.”

        Production might start early in 1957 but that depended on Presley’s other commitments.

        Presley finished his first picture “Love Me Tender” at Twentieth Century Fox yesterday. In it he co-stars with Richard Egan and Debra Paget.

        Miss Mansfield is working in another picture at the studio “The Girl Can’t Help It.”


Courier Mail Thursday 11 October 1956

They All Rocked at Duke’s 21st.

        London. October 10. (AAP)- The big question was- would the Duchess of Kent really permit rock 'n' roll music at the Duke’s 21st birthday party. She did. And the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh among others, danced to it.

        It was the party of the year, with champagne, lobster, rock 'n' roll, and £25,000 worth of jewellery being worn.

        The young Duke, 7th in line to the throne [then] received a roomful of presents from 1500 guests, including a pile of rock 'n' roll records, his favourite music.

        The Duke of Kent personally selected many of the dance tunes, including “See You Later Alligator,” and, of course, “Rock Around the Clock.”


Courier Mail Friday 12 October 1956

Rock 'n' Roll Next Week

Rock 'n' roll will come to Brisbane officially next Monday night. The “Rock-its”, led by Brisbane’s “Mr. Bop” (drummer Tommy O’Connor) will open officially at St. Francis Hall, Elizabeth Street.

        The dance will be a prelude to the film “Rock Around the Clock” which will open at the Tivoli Theatre next Thursday.


Courier Mail 12 October 1956

Shark Hunter on Bodgie Watch

        Coolangatta: Point Danger swimming pool proprietor Jack Evans has mounted a gun guard to keep out “holidaying bodgies.”

        Evans, 42, who has meshed 877 sharks along the South Coast, says that the man-eaters are “tame” compared with bodgies. Recently a large group of teenager bodgies broke into Evan’s children’s swimming pool. “They held a party and left dozens of broken bottles around. I spent hours cleaning up the mess.”


Courier Mail Saturday 13 October 1956

Diary of a Doctor To Rock 'n' roll is Human, To Understand Divine.


Parents of each generation often feel that children today are worse behaved than were those of their young days. Evidence points the other way.

“You look a little heavy eyed,” said the Ear, Nose and Throat Bloke to one of the Honoraries, at afternoon tea. “Had a busy 24 hours?”

“Not particularly,” was the reply. ‘I’ve merely been entertaining lunatics.”

“How come” asked the Ear, Nose and Throat.

“Have you heard of something now happening at parties called Rock 'n' roll?” asked the Honorary.

“I have teenage children,” he continued, “One of them had a birthday last night. Being an indulgent father, I turned back the carpet, gave them a pound or two for some new records. What I witnessed makes it clear that they all need psychiatric attention. It went on to the early hours and they seemed to finish in a daze, a dancing daze.”

“You fellows make me rather despair at times,” came the voice of the other “If you would only read your medical history…indeed a little world history…you would understand your patients…young people…and indeed the whole world so much better. Dancing excitements have been with us down the years. There are fewer of them than there used to be, and they are probably less startling than they used to be. Have you, for instance, heard of the Tarantella?”

“isn’t that a musical piece or something?”

“It’s a dance, and 500 years ago it became a mania. People, especially young people, danced it with the complete abandon till they fell to the ground exhausted. They used to drag the unconscious bodies out of the dancing arena. Incidentally participation in the frenzy was supposed to cure spider bites. The Tarantella went on its merry way for nearly 300 years..”

“You mean rock 'n' roll could go on forever?”

“No. The young people of today are more sensible, better educated and healthier than any young person the world has yet known.”




Courier Mail 1 November 1956




Rock Around the Clock

3rd Terrific Week.

Brisbane’s rocking to the beat for happy feet.

It’s rock, rock, rock around the clock to

Bill Haley and His Comets

Freddie Bell and His Bellboys

and 17 out of this world song hits-

R-O-C-K; Razzle Dazzle; A.B.C. Boogie; See You Later Alligator, etc.

2nd big Show- “Fury at Gunsight Pass.” (G).

10.14, 1.22, 4.43, 7.45. R. 7.27 Cinesound Review.

 bill_haley.jpg (11071 bytes)

Bill Haley

Courier Mail 1 November 1956


Rock ‘n’ Roll
Rock ‘n’ Roll Festival

With the Largest Rock ‘n’ Roll Line up ever presented in Australia.

Headed by musicians featured in the Big Shows

With 6 Big Bands

And Ten Vocalists.

All in Person

Brisbane Stadium

Next Wednesday night- 8.00pm

Non 7th – Book Now

At Music Masters

Ringside 7/6d General Admission 5/-


Courier Mail Saturday 3 November 1956

A Look at the Films with P. D. Spooner



***  “The Dam Busters” (St. James)

        “The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit” (Rex).

        “We’re No Angels” (WinterGarden).

        “Smiley.” (Regent).

**    “The Last Hunt” (Metro).

*      Rock Around the Clock.” (Tivoli)



“Smiley” (Regent)

“We’re No Angels” (WinterGarden)

“Rock Around the Clock” (Tivoli).

All in their third week.

 bodgie.jpg (11441 bytes)



Courier Mail Saturday 3 November 1956

“Boy Award as help to Bodgies”


        Bodgies and Widgees in Australia could be straightened out with a plan now successfully operating in America.


        Mr. Henry D. Grymes, a United States youth leader and Secretary-Treasurer of the International Association of Young Mens’ Christian Association clubs, said this in Brisbane yesterday. Mr. Grymes proposed the American Y.M.C.A.’s “Boy of the Month Club.” Each community would nominate its “boy of the month” selected for something outstanding he had achieved. Mr. Grymes explained, “A kid loves to inflate his ego. He wants to attract attention. It’s a form of exhibitionism. Rock ‘n’ roll is another manifestation of the same thing. The boy of the month gets attention in the news headlines. That is vital to the scheme. When bodgies and widgees see another youth in the headlines for doing something good, they’ll want to be in it themselves. It’s simply turning a negative into a positive. It is working well in America.”


 widgie.jpg (10066 bytes)




in person

Frankie Laine

Buddy Rich

Joe Fingers Carr

Extra Added Attraction

Stan Freberg

Book at Palings, Music Masters.

One Night Only Thursday 29 November

The Big Show- Brisbane Stadium


Despite Rumours

Show Definitely on.

Roc k ‘n’ Roll Festival

Stadium tomorrow. 8pm. Wednesday

We’ll be there

All Star Cast

Frankie Laine


Ron Gowans and his Rockets


Bobby Page

World’s Marathon Drum Title Holder

Barry Erickson

“Mr. Rock ‘n’ Roll

Ron Mathers

“King of the Rock”

Hans Tasseron

Playing “Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

Basil Green

with Piano Rock

Tommy O’Connor

with his Drum Rock!

Lovely Fran Griffith

“Queen of the Rock ‘n’ Roll

and many many more

Extra Added Attraction

Farewell performance of America’s Foremost exponent of

Rock ‘n’ Roll

Frankie Thornton

You be there!

Book Now at Music Masters

Admission 5/- and 7/6d.

 lee_gordon.jpg (8424 bytes)

Lee Gordon

Courier Mail Thursday 20 November 1956

Rocker Riot in Brisbane


        Police arrested eight teenagers when Brisbane’s first rock ‘n’ roll riot stopped traffic in Albert Street, City, last night. Police reinforcements were rushed to the Brisbane Stadium when teenagers began rioting in the streets. Trouble started in the Stadium during a rock ‘n’ roll festival. Police had to quell several disturbances during the show. Police said several youths tore down electrical conduit in the stadium. As the crowd left the stadium, about 10.30pm, several disturbances started. One group of teenagers abused police.

Tear Uniforms

        Several police had their caps snatched off and uniforms torn during struggles. Police stopped and dispersed a yelling crowd of several hundred teenagers who were advancing up Albert Street towards Queen Street. All traffic was stopped in Albert Street between the Stadium and Queen Street soon after 10.30pm. One youth smashed a bottle on a police car. A policeman was hit on the head by a stone. Six youths and two girls were later charged at the City Watchhouse on a number of charges, including disorderly conduct, assault, and obscene language.


Courier Mail 23 November 1956

Police will be ready for Rioting by Youths


        Police had been unprepared for Wednesday night’s rock ‘n’ roll riot but would be ready if it occurred again, Detective Sub Inspector Mahony (prosecutor) said in the Police Court yesterday.

        Six men and two women were charged after a clash with police in Albert Street at the end of a Stadium concert.


        William John McLune, 20, woodworker, pleaded guilty to having assaulted Detective Sergeant M. A. Hopgood, used obscene language, and resisted Constable A. V. Potts. Sub- Inspector Mahony said the Stadium “bleachers” section was deliberately set alight by a gang of hoodlums. Police put the fire out before any great damage was done. Electrical wiring was pulled off the walls. He said that after the concert hundreds of teenagers began “rockin’ ‘n’ rollin” in Albert Street, where they clashed with police squads. McLune used obscene language and when arrested, threw himself on the footpath. McLune was fined a total of £13 or a month’s jail. He was allowed 14 days to pay.


Miner Fined


        Charles Henry Jones, 18, coal miner, of Ipswich, pleaded guilty to having assaulted Constable M. V. Liddle, used obscene language and behaved in a disorderly manner. The prosecutor said Jones was arrested after he had jumped on the back of a detective who had arrested another demonstrator. Jones was fined a total of £10 and allowed a month to pay.


        Desmond Duke, 21, labourer, who pleaded not guilty to five charges, was remanded until 29 November. He was charged with having assaulted and resisted Sergeant H. E. Warburton, assaulted Constable S. L. Hopper, and destroyed two police caps valued at £1/ 19/ 3d. Asked by Mr. Taylor whether he applied for bail, Duke shook his head and walked to the Watchhouse cells.


Denies Claims


        Michael Charles Warren, 17, clerk of Salisbury, was remanded until 29 November when he pleaded not guilty to having willfully damaged Constable J. K. Mahony’s wrist watch, behaving in a disorderly manner, and using insulting words. His sol (Mr. J. T. Delaney) said Warren had a complete answer to the charge. Warren was allowed £40 bail on his own bond.


        Daniel Michael O’Connor, 21, meat worker, of Cannon Hill, forfeited £1 bail when he failed to appear on a charge of having behaved in a disorderly manner.


        Noel Evan James, 17, clerk, also forfeited £1 bail, when he failed to appear on a similar charge.


Forfeit Bail


        Mary McMillan Clarke, 17, calculator operator, of Clayfield, forfeited £1 Watchhouse bail when she failed to appear on a charge of having behaved in a disorderly manner in Queen Street.


        Monica Smith, otherwise Frances Martin, 19, cake packer, forfeited £2 bail when she failed to appear on a charge of having used insulting language.


Courier Mail 23 November 1956


“Showing Off”


        The “rock and rollies” who made a nuisance of themselves in Brisbane on Wednesday night were most of them teenagers. As some teenagers like to do, they were “showing off.”


        The police took a serious view of their conduct, perhaps too serious. A sharp lecture might have brought most of them to their senses, and sent them home shamefaced. There is a risk that some of them will now want to pose as heroes or heroines- among their mates because they were tried in a police court and fined. They really behaved like silly children, and if those who were only mischievous and not a serious menace to life and property had been treated as such, they would probably now want to forget the ridiculous exhibition they made of themselves.


Courier Mail 27 November 1956

Letters to the Editor

“Showing off”

        Your editorial “Showing Off” (Courier Mail 23 November 1956) directed attention to police action necessary to control hooligans. As a taxpayer, I object to the police having to keep in order irresponsible children of irresponsible parents. I would suggest the reintroduction of the birch rod for delinquents and a garnishee of the parents’ income.

“Old Timer:”

Red Hill.



        Last Wednesday night I allowed my daughter to attend the rock ‘n’ roll festival with a young male student companion. On her arrival home, she was really distressed about what she had witnesses. Her opinion was that some sections of the audience were badly behaved and needed some restraint, but certainly not the bashing that was handed out to them by the police. My opinion is that the authorities are treating the effect and not the cause. Why isn’t some legislation passed to ban rock ‘n’ roll from radio, screen and Press and also prosecute firms selling clothing which “makes” the bodgie and widgee types.



“Western Heave”

        I do not agree with the Courier Mail editorial stating that a sharp rebuke would have checked the wild teenagers in Albert Street. I come from a certain western town where the police Sergeant had his own unofficial method of dealing with law breaking youngsters. He waited until there was a crowd around, then he got the offender by the shirt and pants and gave him a heave with a gentle kick in the rear to help him on his way. None of them could stand up to the jeering laughing crowd, and they never came back for a second time.

“Just a Mother”

Breakfast Creek.


        I’m sure all mothers of teenagers are with me in whole hearted thanks for the censoring of the unsavoury comics and “pulp” magazines. Let us keep before our young people the best in literature.

“Mother of Teenagers,”



Courier Mail 24 November 1956

“Look for a ‘gang of bodgies”


        Detectives are seeking a gang of “out of work” bodgies in their investigation into the mystery death of a 48 year old man in the Valley. This switch in the police search followed information that a young man had been brutally bashed by a bodgie gang near an Adelaide Street dance hall late on Sat night. The gang robbed the young man and stripped him of his shirt and trousers….


Courier Mail 28 November 1956

100 Police on Watch

        One hundred police were on duty at Brisbane City Hall last night to prevent any trouble at the rock ‘n’ roll concert. They included uniform, plain clothes and military police. One thousand teenagers were at the concert. They spilled in a mass through King George Square, when the concert ended at 10.45pm. They screamed, whistled, cheered and “counted out” the police. But apart from moving them on, police had to take no action.


Courier Mail 29 November 1956

Letter to the Editor

“Disgusted by Police”

        At last Wednesday’s “riot” at the Stadium, many rather decent chaps and girls were present who were disgusted by the way in which the police handled the situation. Perhaps a little more tact would have prevented such a display. Most of the young ones rebelled against the way some girls were treated by officials.

Lyle R. Parker,

17 Somers Street, Nudgee.


Courier Mail Friday 30 November 1956

Rock ‘n’ Roll Charges Denial by Teenager


        A barrister said yesterday that the City Council had suspended a teenage clerk pending the outcome of charges against him arising from a rock ‘n’ roll disturbance. The barrister (Mr. O. J. North) was appearing for the youth before Mr. Taylor, SM, in the Police Court. Constable J. K. Mahony, who had arrested the youth, told Mr. North that by his appearance he would not type the youth as a bodgie. Constable J. K. Mahony denied to Mr. North that police had set out to clean up “bodgies” on the night of the Stadium “rock ‘n’ roll” show. Mahony denied that on arrival at the Watchhouse he hit the youth. Michael Charles Warren, 17, in the solar plexus, knocking him to the ground. Warren has pleaded not guilty to having behaved in a disorderly manner in Albert Street; willfully damaging a watch the property of Constable Mahony, and used insulting words to Detective R. K. Edwards “get out you mug copper.” Evidence was taken only on the behaving in a disorderly manner charge. Warren was remanded until today on his own £40 bail bond. Mr. North was instructed by Messrs. Feather, Walker and Delaney.

Courier Mail Saturday 1 December 1956

Warren was discharged on the charge of behaving in a disorderly manner.

Courier Mail Thursday 20 December 1956

Letters to the Editor:

Bodgies in High School

        It is very heartening to read where a school boy has been dropped from his school football team because of a Tony Curtis haircut. I trust the principals of some of our high schools in Queensland will rid their schools of “bodgie” style hair cuts. The “bodgie” style is the badge of a cult, and recent happenings in one particular high school have shown that unless a stand is taken now, “blackboard jungles” will soon be found here in Brisbane. Some students who sat for the Junior Examination three weeks before turned up at speech night dressed in “bodgie” style clothing with “bodgie” haircuts. School socials will be discontinued at one school next year because of the behaviour of “bodgie” types this year.




Courier Mail 19 December 1956

        London: December 19 (AAP) Six year old Princess Anne rock ‘n’ rolled in her seat when she and Prince Charles saw their first pantomime, “Dick Whittington,” in London yesterday. The sight of George Formby, in his first pantomime part as Idle Jack, rock ‘n’ rolling to “Rock Around the Clock,” was too much for the little Princess. She rolled and swayed in her seat. Her hands beat time in the air. The Queen and Princess Margaret laughed at her.


January 2, 1957. Courier Mail.



in person

All the Stars of “Rock Around the Clock”


with Bill Haley and His Comets

Stars of the Great Film “Rock Around the Clock”


with the Platters

Stars of the Great Film “Rock Around the Clock.”


with Freddie Bell and the Bell Boys

Stars of the Great Film “Rock Around the Clock.”


with La Verne Baker.


with Joe Turner

A cast of 27 American Rock ‘n’ Rollers flown direct from Hollywood.

Next Wednesday, Thursday nights only.

Bookings open tomorrow at Palings and Music Master.

The Big Show, Brisbane Stadium.


Courier Mail Thursday 3 January 1957

Letter to the Editor from ‘Rustle of Spring’ Carina:


Why not ban Rock ‘n’ Roll.

“To reduce delinquency, why not ban ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ and ‘Elvis the Pelvis,’ films and records from this Country. Why do many of our teenagers worship low grade Americans with their vulgar jokes, dances, and manners.”


Courier Mail Sat 5 January 1957

‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ founder to visit Brisbane


The man who claims to have originated the teenage craze of Rock ‘n’ Roll will arrive in Brisbane on Wednesday. He is middle aged balding guitar player, Bill Haley, who achieved overnight success with one recording about 18 months ago. The recording “Rock around the Clock,” was first used as the theme for the film “Blackboard Jungle,” and went on to become one of the best selling records of the year. Later a film, “Rock around the Clock,” starring Haley and his band, was made and caused near riots in movie theatres throughout the world. Police patrolled the aisles during the screening of the film in Brisbane, at the Tivoli theatre, but there were no serious demonstrations.


Defends Craze

Haley, who has called his band Haley’s Comets, has consistently defended rock ‘n’ roll music against charges that it has contributed to juvenile delinquency in several countries.


Extra police will be on duty to control rock ‘n’ roll concerts starring ‘Haley’s Comets’ and other overseas entertainers at the Brisbane Stadium next Wednesday and Thursday. At least 12 uniformed police will be doing “specials.” The police will be men who are rostered for days off, but who have agreed to do special duty at the Stadium, and who will be paid by the management. Stadium managers (Mr. Bert Potts) said last night that for normal concerts about seven “specials” police were obtained.


Riot Danger


“We have decided to have extra police at the show because of riots at rock ‘n’ roll concerts both here and abroad,” he said. “However,” said Mr. Potts, “American artists are appearing on the shows next week, and we expect a different class of audience to that which caused the riots at the Stadium at the last rock ‘n’ roll concert.” Several people were charged in the Police Court after a clash with police at a concert of Australian entertainers at the Stadium on November 21.


Courier Mail Monday 7 January 1957


Letters to the Editor. Mr. E. D. Greig of Anzac Avenue, Redcliffe wrote:

Parent Looks at Rock ‘n’ Roll

“Few have bothered to analyse rock ‘n’ roll for what it is, or the types who are influenced by its rhythm. Rock ‘n’ roll links itself with the homelessness of the individual; this can be either material or physical homelessness. The notes possess an ecstasy which encourages a joyful abandonment to the sensual excitement created by the rhythmic beat, and the subject finds release from all the pressures which confine the teenagers to adult limitations. I am a parent and I see in organised rock ‘n’ roll, a true means of getting to understand the perplexities of adolescence. I like to see this measure done by youth in normal healthy circumstances. Don’t condemn- try looking at why teenagers need such a release from the common ties of home life.”


Letter to the Editor, Courier Mail. Monday 7 January 1957


“ Why doesn’t ‘Rustle of Spring’ (Courier Mail 3 January 1957) rustle off with his rock ‘n’ roll bans and leave teenagers alone. Rock ‘n’ roll is no worse than the Charleston, or the bunny-hug, or jive- or any other form of dance.”

From Tony Cotterell, of Grosvenor Street, Maryborough.


Courier Mail Tuesday 8 January 1957

He’ll Calm Rockers with the Anthem


Rock ‘n’ Roller Bill Haley will play “God Save the Queen” if teenagers get out of hand at his Brisbane Stadium concert tomorrow and Thursday. He reasons that his audience will then stand quietly at attention. But he usually employs a simpler method for quietening young audiences. He simply stops playing.


Haley, at 30, has already made a fortune out of rock ‘n’ roll. He lives with his wife and five children in a $100,000 (£44,640) mansion in Chester, Pennsylvania.


Made Elvis


Sales of records made by his band, known as Haley’s Comets, now total nearly 17 million. According to Haley, Elvis Presley would have remained a nobody if Haley’s band had not pioneered rock ‘n’ roll. A few years ago Haley toured 183 American schools and colleges to find out what young people, who bought most of the records, wanted. On the basis of his findings, he evolved a style which brought him quick fame 18 months ago with his recording of “Rock Around the Clock.”


Caused Riots


Used first in the film, “The Blackboard Jungle,” and later as the title piece of a film devoted to rock ‘n’ roll, it brought him a world reputation. The “Rock Around the Clock” film was accompanied by picture-house riots in some American and English cities in which teenagers ripped seats, threw fireworks, broke bottles, and blocked traffic.


Haley said that rock ‘n’ roll first became controversial, not because of the music’s beat, but because of questionable lyrics in some songs. He claims to re-write any that are off-colour. Other performers at this week’s concerts will include the Platters, Freddie Bell and the Bell Boys, La Vern Baker, and Joe Turner.


Courier Mail Thursday 10 January 1957

Stadium Shook as thousands rocked ‘n’ rolled


Bill Haley and his Comets shook a packed Brisbane Stadium into convulsive movement at the climax of their first rock ‘n’ roll concert here last night. Teenagers and some older men and women clapped, fluttered their arms, gyrated their knees and jigged with their heels. While rows of the audience swayed in unison from side to side, stamping and singing in time with the band. But there were no real attempts to dance or start a rush. An estimated 10,000 attended last night’s two concerts.


Bill Haley, a big boned, beefy man with a kiss curl coiled carefully across his brow, strummed an electric guitar. More than 12 police patrolled outside while others watched inside. No incidents were reported. The Comets, scarlet coated, black trousered, and in white shoes, blew, banged, and bounced in the converted boxing ring littered with amplifiers, instruments and microphones.


“Dead” Start


When Haley first entered, he spoke into a “dead” microphone, and had to begin his high speed welcome twice. Members of the band took it in turns to sing, one in a squeaky falsetto. The bass player played his instrument upside down and sideways along the floor. He was lying face downwards on it when his pants split at the seam, by accident or design.


“On His Back”


The saxophonist knelt , writhed, buckled at the knees, and once lay down on his back to play. During the last three numbers, and particularly during “Alligator” and “Rock Around the Clock,” the throbbing beat mingled with the high pitched squealing and mass hand-clapping to make a deafening noise. But during the earlier part of the programme, the audience contented itself with cheering and clapping, and the “rockers” were in the minority. Some teenagers sat in rapt, or even apparently sullen, stillness. One bow tied youngster economized by shaking alternate shoulders.


“Wash” Action


Freddie Bell and the Bell Boys, another rock ‘n’ roll band, opened the programme. The band’s pianist stood at his instrument, occasionally playing it as though he were washing his hands vigorously, but more often improvising his own dances.


La Vern Baker, a sultry coloured singer, wore sparkling cartwheel earrings big enough to cover her ears and half her cheeks.


The five Platters sang with slightly more subtlety, and Joe Turner, a benevolent bulky Negro singer, completed the programme.


Courier Mail Thursday 10 January 1957

New Film about ‘Rock’ Fell on the Rocks


With rock ‘n’ roll the vogue, we went along yesterday to see a preview of a film called “Rock, Rock, Rock,” soon to be seen in town. With or without commas, this picture reaches a new level in movie entertainment- namely, rock bottom.


And, horror of horrors, this film introduces a child rock ‘n” roller, a Negro boy named Frank something or other in his early teens delivers a frightful tune called “I’m not a Juvenile Delinquent.” That is open to question. Then there is a girl called Tuesday Weld, who plays the feminine lead. Her acting, deportment, and attempts at dubbing song lyrics, were like last Thursday’s hash.


“Rock, Rock, Rock” is just a cheap quickie, and if Hollywood hopes to exploit rock ‘n’ roll on the screen, it will have to do a bit better.

P. D. Spooner.


Courier Mail Wednesday 5 February 1957



Bill Haley and His Comets in a rock musical sensation “Don’t Knock the Rock.”

With the top new singer Alan Dale, Alan Freed, The Tremolos, Little Richard, Dave Applicant and His Applejacks.

A Columbia Picture.

Hear 13 songs: Don’t Knock the Rock; Hot Dog; Buddy Buddy; Rip It Up; I Cry More; Tutti Frutti; Calling All Comets; etc.

Bill Haley says “Don’t Knock the Rock” has the mostest, with more rock, more roll, than “Rock Around the Clock.”


Courier Mail Saturday 9 February 1957
“Rock ‘n’ Roll Dreadful”


Sydney: When rock ‘n’ roll music was played people got excited, and not only moved around physically, but gave vent to noises, Mr. Justice McLelland said yesterday in the Equity Court. It could produce a “really dreadful noise,” he said. He was hearing an application for an interim “anti-noise” injunction against the proprietor of a King’s Cross coffee shop.


“If it were Chopin’s Nocturne or a quiet waltz, it would be different,” His Honour said. The new Court order allows the coffee shop band to play without amplifiers until 11pm seven days a week.

Courier Mail Saturday 9 February 1957

A Look at Films with P. D. Spooner

“Plea to scoffers for rock ‘n’ roll”


Fellow delinquents, we have been misled. This rock ‘n’ roll business is not the social menace it’s cracked up to be. This information we gleaned from a film called “Don’t Knock the Rock” at the Tivoli. The message behind the title is a passionate plea to squares not to say derogatory things about the new sensation. They say that Dad and Mum behaved just as badly back in the roaring twenties. Hero of this piece is a character named Arnie Haines, who SENDS almost every susceptible teenager in America. He is just the most, but so terribly, misunderstood. He takes a holiday in his home town of Mellondale and is promptly given marching orders by the local mayor. To prove he is not a social menace, he puts on a big rock ‘n’ roll show, which includes Bill Haley and His Comets, and an awful little man called Little Richard.


But a mischievous blonde ruins the party, and poor Mr. Haines, whose screen name is Alan Dale, is practically rocked, rolled and ruined. But he has a secret weapon- the Charleston. Confronted with this sordid reminder of what he used to do in his youth, the Mayor sinks off in confusion.


So Rock ‘n’ Roll is whitewashed, innocuous as a Boy Scouts’ rally. In between all this naïve morality, we were subjected to some moronic dialogue, quivering dancing, and monotonous rhythm.


Courier Mail Saturday 9 February 1957

Disc Jockey, Bob Rogers, will introduce his new programme, Rock ‘n’ Roll, tonight at 9.00pm on 4BH. The programme will feature 30 minutes of the best Rock ‘n’ Roll music from world famous bands.


Courier Mail 11 February 1957

 London February 10, 1957- A controversial week. The arrival of Mr. Bill Haley, his kiss curl, and His Comets, caused a riot. This involved some 3000 “cats” and several thousand subsequent controversial words.


Courier Mail Wednesday 13 February 1957

Letter to the Editor

Immodesty on Beaches

I have just returned from a few weeks at one of the South Coast resorts. I saw girls practically naked on the beaches and young men not much better, and all lying about on the sand in attitudes which, to say the least, look highly immodest. A good spanking on the extensive areas made available by the girls and usually regarded as the proper place for such purposes would bring them back to the realisation that a woman’s body should be decently clothed and not excessively exposed to attract men. There seems no doubt that this is their intention. When “dressed,” they are not much better.

“Respectable Bachelor,”


North Queensland.


Courier Mail Saturday 23 February 1957

“Beat Bodgies says Stampfl.”

Bodgies and widgees would be unknown in Australia, if the country had good facilities for athletic training, world famous athletic coach, Franz Stampfl said this in Brisbane last night when he addressed a public meeting in the Albert Hall.

“If we can supply sufficient counter attractions we can lure the young people from the dancehalls and milk bars” Stampfl said.  

Courier Mail Monday 18 March 1957

Bodgies Make Row in Picture Theatre


To the Editor: Recently it was impossible to enjoy any kind of entertainment in Brisbane, in particular, a good film whatever the time of day, because of the wailing of babies in the audience. As an answer to that, a few of the more astute cinema proprietors installed sound proof rooms for mothers with babies in arms- or at least they planned to do so.

Now it is impossible to enjoy any kind of entertainment any time, anywhere, in Brisbane, without having to listen to the interjections of bodgie and widgie types of all ages, who seem to think it is a sign of smartness to shout remarks all over the theatre. How nice was the baby wailing in comparison! What are the movie houses going to do about that?

Need Bouncers

I suggest the employment of “bouncers” who could eject these types, the way children would be thrown out if they did not behave. Or have them appear like naughty children on the stage during the interval, making them look ridiculous in the eyes of their friends. In my opinion, this is a much more disturbing thing than smoking during the screening of a film.

C. K. Stenzel,

Stanley Street,

South Brisbane.


Courier Mail Tuesday 19 March 1957

Bodgies Blacklisted by Theatres.


Brisbane cinema managers have begun a get tough campaign against trouble making bodgies and widgies. Some have already drawn up a “blacklist” of youths and girls with past records of creating a nuisance in theatres. Ticket sellers have been instructed to refuse them admission. Many city and suburban theatres are now regularly engaging police patrols on nights when bodgies and widgies are expected to cause trouble.

“Bouncer” plea

In a letter to the Courier Mail yesterday, Mr. C. T. Stenzel, of South Brisbane, said it was impossible to enjoy entertainment in Brisbane “without having to listen to the interjections of bodgie and widgie types…who seem to think it is a sign of smartness to shout remarks all over the theatre.” Mr. Stenzel suggested the employment of “bouncers” to eject the troublemakers, or “to have them appear like naughty children on the stage during the interval.”

One Queen Street theatre manager said last night: “We have all had trouble from these types at some time or another, but we are not going to tolerate it any more. They’ll be put out quick and lively the minute they begin playing up.”

Other managers said they were keeping troublesome bodgies and widgies out of their theatre by “spotting” them in foyers and refusing to sell them tickets. A Valley theatre spokesman said Friday and Saturday nights were usually the worst in the week for bodgies and widgie trouble.


Courier Mail Wednesday 20 March 1957

Johnny Finds us Squares


Sydney band leader Johnny O’Keefe, 22, turned up in Brisbane yesterday- with a grouch. His complaint- “They won’t let us put on rock ‘n’ roll concerts in Queensland.”

O’Keefe said he and the Hon. Tony Moynihan had planned to give a series of rock ‘n’ roll concerts in Queensland country centres, but theatre managers feared damage to their theatres!

“Even in Brisbane we find box plan agents are not prepared to handle the show if we label it a rock ‘n’ roll concert,” he said. The City Hall concert at which O’Keefe and his Dee Jays played last night was called a “jazz concert.”

“Queensland is the only square State in Australia, man,” said Johnny.

“That’s not because the average person does not want us. It’s because of a minority of people who have read about rock ‘n’ roll riots. In Sydney rock ‘n’ roll is accepted socially. It’s accepted socially in England. But not in Queensland.”


Courier Mail Wednesday 20 March 1957

Elvis the Pedaller.

Old time transport (bicycle) for a new vogue singer Elvis Presley, who uses a bicycle to carry actress Lizabeth Scott and himself to and from the sound stages at Paramount studio where he is making “Loving You.” Presley actually owns four Cadillacs.


Courier Mail Thursday 21 March  1957

Teddy Boys are Sad and Lost

Other Young Englishmen are Worried

The Troubled World of Youth- Part 4- England

By John Williams


    The Rock ‘n’ Roll film “Rock Around the Clock” was showing that night at a small London suburban cinema. The cinema manager quaked in anticipation and with good reason. A half hour before the show was scheduled to start, the manager’s worst fears were realised. For here came the Teddy Boys.


    The Teddy Boys name is derived from the clothes they wear in shabby, pathetic imitation of the grandeur of dress in the early twentieth century era of King Edward VII. The Teddy Boys- thin, cocky teenagers- wear “drainpipe” trousers (related to American peg leg pants, and tapering, heavily padded coats. Their hair is long, often greasy. Many are organised in shady teenaged gangs. The girls match the boys, raucous voiced, shallow, talking of little beyond third rate films and reading little beyond romance novels.


    Rock ‘n’ roll’s fame had spread wide, so here were the Teddy Boys pouring into the cinema. The film started and the first boops of rock ‘n’ roll exploded in their ears. The cinema went mad. Boys jerked girls to their feet. They stamped and yelled, danced in the aisles, on seats, even on the stage, blocking the film. The manager stopped the film. He broadcast for quiet. He was met by a sea of shouting, picked up, carried from the cinema, and deposited in the street. The police were called, and the night’s fun was over. After that, many areas banned “Rock Around the Clock.”


    But they couldn’t ban Teddy Boys and their girls, for this is the sad lost generation that grew up with the crump of German bombs as background and the floors of dingy air raid shelters for beds. The new glass and glitter imitation Italian coffee bars, dance halls, cinemas- these are the homes for many Teddy Boys and girls. They neck on the platforms and in the carriages of the roaring underground railways that honeycomb London.


Grimy Cafes


    They are pale, these young East End Londoners, from lack of sunshine, lack of fresh air. The Teddy Boys eat badly too- in grimy little cafes where the menu runs to fried fish, bready sausages, and greasy eggs, always with potato chips.


    This is a black picture. But, of course, only a section of London’s youth are Teddy Boys. In this huge city you probably would find as many young people who love Beethoven as love Rock “n” Roll. Many of these serious minded young people, coming to London from provincial homes, live in tiny, rented rooms, cooking meals over gas rings, perched near their beds, pushing pennies and shilling pieces into meters to get a little heating for hot water. They work hard, study hard, and save hard, except for tickets, maybe two or three nights weekly, to West End plays, ballets and musical recitals. It is these gentle, friendly young Londoners who seem to worry most about their nation’s future, who ponder the rights and wrongs of migrating to new, energetic lands. A young man who wanted to marry and then take his bride to Australia, told me: “It sounds unpatriotic, but this country is finished. We reached our natural limits many years ago. From now on we go down hill. The Empire, as was right, has broken up. It will need tremendous effort to maintain even our present standard of living. I think that our crippling income tax is at the stage where it no longer pays to display incentive, to work hard. There is no top to get to. You have seen the new Government built houses- row after row of boxes with pitiful little gardens. They’ll all be slums in 20 years. I love England but I wanted a new life while I have a chance to earn more than £15 or £20 a week, while I can own my own home, and car and save a little money, where my children can get good food and grow strong in the sunshine. The war took too much out of Britain. Germany has rebuilt. In some areas we are still planning to rebuild. You can see our tiredness in our faces in the way we uncomplainingly accept any inconvenience as if the war was still on. We are more and more content with less and less.”


Courier Mail Friday 22 March 1957

Letters to the Editor

Film Managers are punching bags for bodgies


I can tell Mr. Stenzell (Courier Mail 18 March 1957) why bodgies and widgies at picture theatres are becoming an annoyance out of all proportion to their numbers. One of the most effective remedies for these offences is to deny admission to the culprits for a month, or for all time, depending on the gravity of the offence. However, it is difficult to identify and locate the offenders because of complete lack of cooperation on the part of the audience. Furthermore, when an offender is caught in the act, it usually results in the manager of the theatre concerned becoming a punching bag for louts around the 18 to 26 age group.


Having had some experience along these lines, I know what I am talking about. The way the Act is at present constituted police cannot take any action in the case of such assault as they must see the assault in progress. The only remedy and a doubtful one, is for the manager concerned to take civil action against the perpetrator. The punishment for such an offence is usually a small bond. No theatre manager worthy of the name has any desire to see his entertainment spoiled by the actions of the people Mr. Stenzel complains about, but I am afraid that, until the Act is amended, he, like the theatre manager, will have to suffer in silence.

S. S. Clapham,


Civic Theatre,



Courier Mail Friday 22 March 1957

Letters to the Editor

Lets Keep it Square

In reply to Johnny O’Keefe (Courier Mail 20 March 1957), let us keep Queensland the only “square” state in Australia. We appreciate the ban on rock ‘n’ roll by theatre owners and booking agents, who apparently are less interested in the pounds (£) and more interested in real music. We will not accept rock ‘n’ roll socially, because we cannot accept rock ‘n’ roll musically.

“Anti Social”



Courier Mail Friday  22 March  1957

French Girls and Boys Are Fed Up

They Don’t Go Mad over Rock ‘n’ Roll

The Troubled World of Youth- Part 5- France

By John Williams


“You can see how the French revolution began,” said my Australian friend, nodding from our restaurant table to the screaming, furious crowd jostling in the street outside. It was Paris, a mild night last November. A mild night when, for the first time in a generation, the youth of Paris was stirred to real fury. The day before Paris newspapers with deep headlines, had announced the return of Russia’s tank cordon to strangle free Budapest. Now the electric tension of two days was broken. In the streets the young men and women of Paris were digging up stones and huge chunks of roadway for use as weapons.

Fought Reds

They joined groups of other young Parisians armed with broken bottles and nail embedded wooden fencing. Carrying Hungarian flags with Communist emblems torn out, they swept down on to the Communist party’s headquarters.

Police, alerted for trouble, had a strong armed cordon around the building. The youth of Paris swept aside the cordon and stormed into the building. Communists, entrenched on the top floor, threw home made bombs into the crowd below. Two or three young anti-Communists were enveloped in flames and later died.

Meanwhile, the rioting youths on the lower floors threw office chairs, files- everything and anything- through the Red Headquarters shattered windows. Eager friends below piled it all on a huge bonfire. A second, hastily armed crowd bore down on the Communist Party’s newspaper, L’Humanité, which earlier that day had hung Russian and French flags side by side from its windows. Bottles and bricks crashed into the building, several rioters stormed inside and were “captured.” by the newspaper staff. Street fighting mounted to such fury that police sealed off the whole area. Even the underground railway stations were closed as the bloody battles swayed over Paris. For five hours the youth of Paris showed what they thought of Communism.


My friend and I had mingled with the crowd and were stupid enough to talk English. A group of young men heard us, waved their sticks and bottles, and shouted “Americans.” We dived into the safety of the nearest restaurant, not waiting to explain that we were not Americans. For this was the time of the Suez crisis, and the popularity of Americans, never high, had reached an all time low. All things American are, as a rule, ignored by young Paris, probably the only city in Western Europe not to go mad over Rock ‘n’ Roll. The only signs of Americana in the student quarters of Paris are pin ball machines- clanking and jingling up the scores while the Parisians whoop with delight.


Days after the riot when tempers were back to normal, a young Frenchman explained his dislike of Americans.


“The typical American comes here wearing loud clothes, loaded down with cameras, and stays three or four days firmly convinced he is seeing Paris. He is usually with a party of fellow Americans and so is relieved of the boredom of spending any time with the French. He has the boyish belief, apparently given him in America, that Paris is an excitingly naughty city. To most people, Paris is so very much more. Finally he can’t understand why we don’t all love Americans and want to live in America. Politically we think that the American nation is naïve. The Suez crisis was partly the fault of their lack of Middle East policy. But all they do is act like hurt children. If a dictator seized the Panama Canal, of course, they would fight for it. And how would they feel if we voted in the UN with Russia against them? That is exactly what they did in reverse. We are fed up with their morality.”


Courier Mail Monday 25 March 1957

Rival Rock ‘n’ Roll Fans Chase Record


Melbourne: Late last night teenage groups in two capital cities were rock ‘n’ rolling their way towards a world jive endurance record. In Melbourne, eight gaily dressed couples danced steadily towards the mark of 14 hours, which the Australian Jazz and Jive Society claimed was the existing record. But in Perth, four youths, who had been rock ‘n’ rolling non-stop for 48 hours, claimed they still had 60 hours to go. They said that the present record was 108 hours.

In Hobart at 4.45pm, yesterday, a jive couple had stumbled off the dance floor and claimed a new world record of 16¾ hours.

Former national jitterbug champion, Lindsay Owen, who organised the Melbourne attempt, said: “Ours is definitely the only officially recognised non-stop record. The other attempts are bodgie.” “They can sit down and have 10 minutes break for meals. We don’t allow any shilly-shally like that.”


Courier Mail Thursday 28 March 1957

Letters to the Editor,

“Bodgies as Gentlemen?”


Is it not possible for the police to use more tact in dealing with so called bodgies and widgies? If spoken to by the police, and theatre managers as gentlemen, these youngsters would behave themselves and the police would have no need to hound them down. Magistrates and police should give them fair warning and not manufacture criminals out of them,





Courier Mail Friday 29 March 1957

Letters to the Editor,

“Naïve” to treat bodgies as gentlemen.

I wonder if “Justice” (Courier Mail 28 March 1957) is really serious with his or her suggestion to first treat bodgies as gentlemen. If so he or she must be very naïve. Since when has it been the habit of our society to treat somebody as a gentleman before he has learned to behave as one? Before he is even grown up? Since when has it been the habit of our society to back down before troublemakers? I am sure that the police are not “hounding” them, or trying to “manufacture” criminals, but if the authorities are not strict now with the bodgies, who to a great extent are nothing but spoilt children, they will not have to “manufacture” criminals in the future either. These children have to be taught to fit themselves into our society, and that cannot be achieved by handling them with kid gloves; they would only consider that a sign of weakness.

Carl K. Stenzel,

51 Stanley Street,

South Brisbane.


Courier Mail Monday 8 April 1957

Ban on Bodgie Haircuts

Some Brisbane High Schools have asked boys to stop wearing bodgie haircuts. The headmaster of a West Brisbane High School yesterday said he had asked boys at parade last week to have “normal schoolboy type haircuts.”

“We have no bodgie element in the school; in fact we have some very fine lads among the 505 pupils,” he said.

“But five boys have let their hair grow in styles approaching the bodgie fashion. If we do not take steps, the five might set a bad example,” he said. “I am not ordering all the boys to have their hair cut the same way. They can wear crew cuts if they like; as long as the style is clean, and the hair cut up at the back.” The headmaster said other Brisbane High Schools had asked boys not to wear bodgie style haircuts.


Courier Mail Tuesday 9 April 1957

Bodgie’s Hysteria, 28 hour “rock”

Perth- A bodgie, 16, had become hysterical after rock ‘n’ rolling for 28 hours and had to be put in the reception house. A probation officer told the Perth’s Children’s Court yesterday that the boy, who had slept only three hours from Wednesday to Friday, was dragged from a rock ‘n’ roll marathon at the Young Australia League Hall last Friday by his furious parents. His parents had him charged with being an uncontrollable child. The Magistrate, Mr. E. B. Arney, severely criticized rock ‘n’ roll marathons and their promoters saying: “This absurd thing is of no use whatsoever to anybody. The contests are apparently used by the promoters to make money regardless of the consequences to youth.” He placed the boy on 12 months probation and forbade him to attend rock ‘n’ roll concerts.


Courier Mail Wednesday 24 April 1957

Rush to See US Band Leaders. Record stars draw 11,000

Eleven thousand people packed the Brisbane Stadium last night for two brassy rock and roll editions of the Big Show. A record equaling capacity crowd of over 5,800 jammed the house for the first show. The second show audience, waiting to get in, pulled over Albert and Charlotte Streets, blocking traffic for an hour. The bands of Stan Kenton and Lionel Hampton, and singers Cathy (“Ivory Tower”) Carr, and Guy Mitchell, with Denis Collinson’s band made entrepreneur Lee Gordon’s Record Star Parade not only a big show but a loud show. Only the easy singing Mitchell and patter man Joe Martin rescued the show from the strident and unceasing blare of trumpet, trombone, saxophone and drums. Mitchell is a relaxed artist with a clear pleasant voice. The audience was with him from the start, and he never let them get away. Mitchell brought the house down with “Singing the Blues” and “Heartbreak Hotel.” He ranged from rock and roll to the Burl Ives standby “Truly Fair,” and ended with an old fashioned blues number “T is for Texas.”

        Cathy Carr tried, but lost. She is a cute blonde, but she is better on records. Stan Keaton played many of his well known numbers but his soloists lacked inspiration. Hampton’s style last night was different to that usually heard in his records. He gave a drumming display which had the crowd roaring, but barely touched the vibrophone. He rocked, rolled and banged a drum, and the Brisbane “cats” screamed their welcome. They screamed so loud that the Big Show, originally designed as a one night stand, will play two shows today at 6.00pm and 8.45pm.


Courier Mail 6 May 1957

Letters to the Editor

“Haircut Barred Him”

My son is an apprentice in the RAAF, having passed the Junior Examination last year. He had his first leave last week and looked forward to attending a Friday night dance at his former school, the Salisbury State High School, and meeting his old school friends. When he arrived at the dance the principal said he would not be admitted because of his haircut. He told the principal it was a regulation hair cut, and he was ordered not to be cheeky. I am writing this to give the matter some publicity with a view to action being taken by the Education Department to prevent some other young servicemen being humiliated in the wat my son was.



[The Salisbury High School principal, Nr. R. Mackie, comments: “The dances are school dances, not open to the public, and we reserve the right not to admit anyone we don’t want. There are certain types of haircut we don’t want at the school and therefore we don’t want them at the dances.”]


Courier Mail 6 May 1957

Crowds see 200 Marching Girls

Two hundred girls, from 7 to 17, dressed in brilliant uniforms, gave Queensland’s first mass marching girl display at Victoria Park yesterday. Seven of the 18 teams came from Brisbane; others are from Stockton, New South Wales, Toowoomba, Lismore and Maryborough. Guests of honour were the Hamilton City Silver junior team from New Zealand. Marching girls had been introduced to New Zealand 12 years ago, derived from the American drum majorette idea. Numbers of the Nundah Blue Stars, organised last November, marched for different charities. They said that marching “felt good. It was good exercise and good sport.” The girls said that they were fascinated by the uniforms.


Courier Mail 17 May 1957

Billy Graham Crusade

New York May 16 (AAP)- People streamed from the balconies and surged down the aisles to the platform at the Madison Square Garden meeting last night when Evangelist Billy Graham called for those who would “make decisions for Christ.” Dr. Graham said after the meeting, the first of a scheduled six week mission in New York: “It was the largest first night response I have ever seen from the pulpit. It was overwhelming. It was beyond anything I had anticipated. Prayer,” he said, “was responsible.”

About 18,500 passed Dr. Graham. Many had lined up for hours for admission. One hundred police were stationed outside the building, and 80 inside, but the meeting was orderly. The auditorium was draped with flags and the platform from which Dr. Graham spoke was banked with flowers. For his sermon, Dr. Graham took his text from Isaiah 1, 1-20 which includes this passage:

“Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil doers children that are corrupters. They have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backwards.”

Dr. Graham stabbed his finger at the huge crowd as he said: “The times in which we live are parallel to the times that Isaiah lived in.”

Courier Mail Saturday 18 May 1957

Elvis Says He’s Really Miserable

New York: Elvis Presley, the highest paid movie star in history, whose income skyrocketed from a few thousand to over a million dollars a year in 30 months, is sometimes “as lonely as hell.” He made this admission to the New York Herald Tribune’s Hollywood correspondent.

“A lot of times I feel miserable, don’t know which way to turn,” he said, “I feel if I could go places like everyone else, it would be OK. I never knew that there was so much money in the world, that many places to go, or that many people to see. I’m not complaining about the lack of privacy, although I miss it.” Elvis rejected the idea that as a teenage idol he could be “a power for good.”

“I never thought of myself as a symbol and still don’t, and never thought of using my power in such ways as working for groups against juvenile delinquency,” he said. “I’ve just been taking everything as it comes and making the best of it.”


Courier Mail Saturday 18 May 1957

Dr Graham says New York morally ill

New York: May 17 (AAP)- Dr. Billy Graham told 18,000 people in Madison Square Garden last night that “New York was crying for cleansing from its evil.” It was the second night of his spiritual revival campaign. The audience was 5,500 fewer than on the first night.

“Jesus puts his finger on the trouble in New York when he says that we are morally sick,” he said.

“I am appalled when I hear of murders, the rapes, the assaults, and robberies that are taking place in this city; nearly a million crimes committed here last year.”

But he said that what troubled New York troubled the whole human race.



Courier Mail Thursday 13 June 1957


        Police are watching a number of city and suburban dance halls and hamburger shops in their efforts to nip juvenile crime in the bud. CIB Chief Inspector Frank Bischof last night blamed these meeting places for juvenile crime.

        He said: “These meeting places are often the breeding grounds for crime. Individually, the youths who gather there cannot make their mark; but collectively they can gain notoriety. It is through many of these ‘darings’ that crime is committed. We will continue moving youths who loiter in gangs.

        Inspector Bischof said that several places other than the T and G Corner were recognised meeting places for bodgie type youths.

        On Tuesday counsel for a youth on a stealing charge told the Criminal Court that youths who gathered at the T and G corner of Albert and Queen Streets, Brisbane, had suggested to the accused that if he wanted money, he should try breaking and entering.

        Last night, a bodgie type youth, who boasted of the number of occasions that he has been moved from the T and G corner, said “We like to gather at the corner because it is central. You have four theatres at hand. I’ve been moved from the corner many times by police, but I just go down the road, and when police leave, I go back. They haven’t enough men in the police force to keep a man posted there permanently.”

        Attaching bodgie- widgie type dress, Inspector Bischof said: “There is nothing masculine about the way a bodgie type youth dresses. The colours and cut of some clothes worn by them are more suitable for women.” He stamped as “too provocative” the dress of widgie type Brisbane girls, and attacked parents for their lack of control over bodgie and widgie types sons and daughters.


Courier Mail Saturday 25 June 1957

Billy Graham Battles with the Devil

Young Man with a Bible packs Madison Square Garden


    New York: If the ghost of old Billy Sunday is stalking Madison Square Garden these days he must be learning a lot about latter day evangelism.

        Gone from the big arena are the gory pugilists, the grunting wrestlers, the circus clowns, the ice hockey heroes, the hot dog vendors, and the screaming fans.

        In their place is one remarkable man, standing on a stage against a solid white backdrop of a 1500 voice choir.

        Every night since May 15, 1957, he has been packing about 17,000 people into the Gardens. Nothing less than Ringling Brothers’ circus has been able to do that.

        The tall, broad shouldered athlete under the high spotlight is BILLY GRAHAM.

        If he wasn’t the world’s best known evangelist, he would not seem out of place as a high priced advertising model for anything from well cut clothes to toothpaste- or perhaps in a movie role as a college football star.

        Billy isn’t selling suits or toothpaste, but religion. But Billy himself says that, since he’s selling the greatest product in the world, why not give it at least as much promotion as a bar of soap? And that’s what has happened.

        The Billy Graham organisation has handled the New York invasion with all the high powered efficiency of a national sales promotion campaign. And it’s running with the smoothness of a well oiled railway system.

        It is a far cry from the days of yesteryear, when evangelists thundering hell-fire and damnation depended chiefly on lung power and rhetorical fireworks  to convert the hordes of sinners.

        About 40 years ago battling Billy Sunday stormed into New York. In a hastily erected building on upper Broadway, the small, lithe man pranced and shouted, shadow boxed, and wrestled o the floor with the Devil, and mesmerized his flock with fishwifery dramatics. New Yorkers in general he described in one burst as “vile, iniquitous, lowdown, groveling, worthless, damnable, rotten, hellish, corrupt, miserable sinners.”

        And all liquor sellers, he said, were “a weasel-eyed, butter-and-milk, white-livered, whisky-soaked gang.”

        The country boy from the cornfields of the Mid-West was the idol and joke of a whole generation.

        He had been a star in the Chicago White Stockings before he abruptly left baseball to enlist his energies in God’s cause.

        At his meetings he always told the story of the country boy whose downward path began at a “fancy undress ball” when he met a jezebel with “hair like a raven’s wing, a neck like a swan, teeth like a ledge of pearl in a snowdrift, wearing just enough clothing to pad a crutch, who, with difficulty, persuaded the young man to take his first glass of champagne.”

More Guns than Billy Sunday

        Billy also introduced a good measure of jingoism. He would yank an American flag out of its holder, and whip it back and forth overhead, shouting, “We are enduring it now for the cause of justice. It has never flown for anything else.”

        Then the entire audience of 20,000 would rise with a roar and launch into “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” as Billy capered with joy at having won the first skirmish in his “battle with the Devil” in New York.

        Well, there are no more Billy Sundays but the Devil is apparently still around these parts.

        His current antagonist is doing battle but with greater weapon power.

        Billy Sunday used a cannon; Billy Graham uses push button warfare.

        Every 40 years some fierce eyed revivalist storms New York to brand it the citadel of sin.

        It doesn’t happen more often because New York is a name that strikes fear and trembles into all the most stout hearted evangelists.

        They call this city the “revivalist graveyard,” which isn’t as contradictory as it sounds.

        Many a good missionary has floundered here. Evangelists steer away from its shores, until they are at the peak of their careers.

        Whether this is such a Devil ridden city is a debatable point; it has been pointed out that New York has the highest percentage of church-goers of any city in the United States.

        Broadly two factors do most to keep the evangelists away.

        For one thing, it is hard to be heard over the hurly burly of all this city’s distractions.

        For another the population is 45 per cent Roman Catholic, and 25 per cent Jewish.

        Neither faith has any use for the mass evangelism these visitors practise.

        Roman Catholics have been told by spokesmen of their church not to go to Billy Graham’s meetings. Some of his preachings, it is said, are heretical.

        Jews have been told that the meetings have nothing of value for them.

        Among Protestants, there is not complete unanimity about Mr. Graham. The critics concentrate on the “emotional excesses and commercialism” of the Graham crusade, and express doubts that many people would be permanently “saved.”

        But Billy Graham managed to win the cooperation of 1500 local ministers in this crusade.

        This points to an important feature of Graham crusades. He first makes sure that he has a strong body of clergy behind him before he moves in.

        The churches are involved in an integral part of the Graham evangelical technique: an elaborate follow up system.

        The converts who hit what Billy Sunday called “the sawdust trail to salvation” after each meeting are handled by a small army of “counselors.”

        The converts fill in cards. The information is passed on to the appropriate churches which are expected to follow up each convert.

        Of the 300,000 people who had been to Graham’s meetings in the first two weeks, about 12,000 stepped forward and “declared themselves for God.”

Ad. Men in Action

        Mr. Graham’s preparations went a long way beyond the churches. His organisation used all the promotion techniques of Madison Avenue- hub of the advertising world- in the assault of his toughest proving ground.

        The same methods will be sued in Australia if Mr. Graham goes there- as he hopes to do.

        For a year before the crusade began, his organisers set up office near Times Square and started preparing the ground.

        As a result. long before Billy himself arrived, New York was plastered with posters, the crusade had time spots on radio and TV, convoys of buses- as well as planes and trains- to bring adherents from every corner of the country had been organised, the clergy had been organised, classes for about 5,000 “counsellors” had been organised, the nightly roster of 1500 singers for the choir had been organised, round-the-world all night prayers for the eve of the opening had been organised, and funds were pouring in.

        Plenty were needed. Cost of the campaign will run into over a million dollars, plus extras, such as the televising of a recent Garden meeting, which cost $200,000.

        But this was underwritten by Graham’s wealthy backers, of which he has many.

        One Texan has left his chain of supermarkets to help Graham in New York.

        His campaign committee includes men like newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst Jnr., and Henry R. Luce, publisher of Time and Life.

        Bank presidents, heads of corporations and business houses are among the backers.

        When the helpers take up the collection in the Garden, they pass around paper buckets, which are promptly stuffed with dollar bills. But that isn’t enough to take care of the Garden rent.

        Graham himself gets nothing extra for coming to New York. His organisation pays him a flat $17000 (about £8,800) a year which is not excessive by local standards.

        On the credit side, the Graham crusade has received a spate of publicity unprecedented here and immeasurable in terms of dollars.

        Almost every local newspaper and national magazine has run feature stories on Billy Graham.

        No other individual apart from his friend President Eisenhower has had such a concentrated wealth of publicity.

        This has helped to make Billy Graham one of the best known men in the United States.

        A recent Gallup Poll showed that 90 per cent of the population could identify him, an honour accorded few Americans, other than the nation’s chief executive in government.

        More than four million adults said that they had seen him in person. About 50 million said they had seen him on TV or heard him on the radio.

        With the great pre-Crusade build up, there was not much for Billy Graham to do but get up on stage and preach. He does just that.

        He has no use for the physical and vocal acrobatics of Billy Sunday. He is urgent and articulate but not emotional as evangelists go.

        A miniature microphone in his lapel, he speaks with a smooth, driving delivery.

        Occasionally he shakes his fists, shouts, or points heavenward and hellward, but he keeps away from bygone histrionics.

        Even the most misbegotten old sinner would not deny that he is one of the most dynamic speakers ever to set foot on a stage.

        The soft pedal influence is seen throughout the meeting. Applause is banned. “If you want to applaud, do it deep down inside you,” one of his aides tells the congregation. “Treat this place like a cathedral.”

        The whole meeting runs with the precise efficiency of a TV “spectacular”. The timing of the speeches, the organ music, the songs, and the silences, is superb.

        It seems that Billy Graham prefers to associate himself with the respected memory of the 19th century evangelist, Dwight L. Moody, rather than that of Billy Sunday, who was called by his official biographer “A Gymnast for Jesus.”

        The Graham technique is working the “Miracle of Madison Square Garden.” His seemingly impossible six week run has just been extended to 21 July (1957) three weeks beyond the original closing date. And his aides say that there is every possibility that he will continue battling with the Devil at “the Garden” until the end of summer.


Courier Mail Monday 15 July 1957

        Roaming gangs of bodgie vandals on Saturday, (13 July 1957) staged three outbreaks of hooliganism on Brisbane suburban railways. In one incident at Enoggera, they held up a train for 5 minutes after hurling stones and gravel at crowded carriages. At Hemmant they overturned seats on the railway platform and stopped a city bound passenger train by placing an empty 44 gallon oil drum on the line.

        The engine smashed into the drum wrecking its braking system. A railway union official said last night railwaymen were becoming concerned at the wave of hooliganism and vandalism on suburban railways. He said that at Mitchelton on the Central to Ferny Grove Line, a guard recently held up a train for 5 minutes as a show of strength against a number of bodgie passengers who had refused to buy tickets.

        The Queensland Railway Guards, Shunters and Conductors Association Secretary (Mr. W. V. Furness) said that his Association had already reported instances of bodgie trouble to the Commissioner. He said bodgies often prevented guards from doing their duty by boarding trains without tickets and refusing to pay fares.

        The Police Union Secretary (Mr. C. Behm) said that Brisbane’s bodgie problem was of growing concern to the Union. Police were refusing to do special duty at dance halls frequented by bodgies, unless two constables were assigned to the job.

        The Enoggera disturbance occurred just before midnight on Saturday last, 13 July 1957, as a train was pulling out of the station on its way to Ferny Grove. A railway officer at Enoggera said that a gang of about 30 bodgie youths had got out of the train when it stopped at the station and then swarmed across the lines hurling stones and gravel at the train as it moved on. Stones rattled against the rear carriage and guard’s van.

        The railway officer said that the guard on the train became concerned and pulled his emergency brake as the train moved across the Wardell Street level crossing.

        Bodgies were reported to have milled around the railway officials as they tried to quell the disturbance.

The Enoggera railway officer said: “ I have never seen such a mob before. Some of them were shouting; one or two of them were abusive. I couldn’t grab them or hold them; there were too many of them.

The officer said that the bodgies made off when he told them he was going to call the police. He has since reported the incident to railway authorities.

Woolloongabba police are investigating the Hemmant railway incident which occurred at 11.29pm last Saturday 13 July 1957. Police said that a city bound passenger train was stopped when it smashed into the oil drum on the line. The train was held up while a replacement engine was brought from Manly. Police found that seats on Hemmant platform had been overturned.

[Some days later police withdrew the attribution of the Hemmant incidents to bodgies and attributed the incidents to a person since deceased in a motor vehicle accident]


Courier Mail 15 July 1957

Letters to the Editor

Why Grovely Breeds Bodgies- Nothing Else to do

The writer of the article “I carry a blackjack” (Sunday Mail 14 July 1957) certainly paints a dismal picture of affairs on the Central to Ferny Grove railway line. His description of what goes on is all too true. These things occur, but only in parts of the train by isolated groups. Most of the bodgies to which he refers live at Grovely. Regrettably this is no accident. Geographically Grovely is an ideal suburb, with new houses in a new area, right on the edge of the city, and bordered by bush, but Grovely itself is completely without life after dark. There are absolutely no entertainments and it is this lack of anything to do that has caused the inherent liveliness of young people to find interest and excitement in other less tasteful ways.

        The district is in dire need of playing areas for football, cricket, tennis, and swimming, a picture theatre, and up to date library. Some of the blame for this rests with the Brisbane City Council for not making available that area alongside Kedron Brook for a recreation area when requested to do so by the local Progress Association on several occasions.

        Prevention of future bodgie-ism could be attained by the introduction of sporting clubs and youth organisations, arranged by the Churches, Police Citizens, YMCA, Boy Scouts and similar movements.

        For older youths, the intense interest in motor cycles in the district point to the introduction of a branch of a motor cycle club. A bush walking organisation would also find strong support.

        It is necessary to give youth something to do to keep them off the streets, out of milk bars and hamburger joints where bodgie-ism begins.

Grovely Resident.


Courier Mail Tuesday 16 July 1957

What They’re Doing in South

Sydney Squad to destroy Bodgie Packs

Sydney: Special police patrols have been formed in Sydney to stamp out bodgie hooliganism. Senior police said last night that roaming bands of louts were carrying out alarming acts of hooliganism. They claimed that decent citizens risked injury from roaming bands of bodgies in parts of Sydney after night fall. Recent acts by bodgies included playing “chicken” on isolated roads and endangering the lives of passing motorists; mauling teenage girls; pelting trams and buses with tomatoes; holding drink and sex orgies.

        Police say that the teenage hoodlums are fast becoming Sydney’s No 1 headache. Bodgie packs are terrorizing young children playing in city parks. This week the pack threw a seven year old girl into Sydney Harbour. A passer by dived in fully clothed and rescued her. One bodgie gang recently stole 12 cars and trucks. Their leader was jailed for three years.

Bicycle patrol cuts Melbourne menace

Melbourne: A special police bicycle patrol operating at night had cut down sharply the bodgie widgie menace in Melbourne, the Victorian Chief Secretary (Mr. Rylah) said last night. Mr. Rylah said that it was also proposed to increase the number of police on normal night beat work to keep bodgies in check. Police on bicycles regularly visited known bodgie haunts and warned youths about their behaviour.


Courier Mail Tuesday 16 July 1957


Hoodlums on Trains

        A general election (Labour Premier Vince Gair had just lost Government consequent upon the split of labour into the QLP and ALP) is no excuse for letting packs of teenage hoodlums run riot on Brisbane’s suburban railways or anywhere else.

        Ministers may be too busy electioneering to attend to the duties of their office. Over the weekend no one seemed to know which Minister was carrying responsibility for the States’ police administration, not even the Minister who normally has that charge. But the Police Commissioner has, or should have, sufficient authority and initiative to deal with “bodgies” who attack railway property and terrorise railway employees and unoffending passengers. He should not have to wait for direction and instructions from the Minister. What happened last weekend on the Ferny Grove line to Brisbane repeated on a bigger scale hooliganism that has gone unchecked for many weeks. The public wants an answer to these questions. What action has been taken by police to supply this obvious need. A few vigilant plain clothes police put on trains mostly used by suburban hoodlums for making their weekend excursions to and from the city would soon be able to break up their gangs by making quick arrests for disorderly conduct or refusing to pay fares. More police might be rostered for night duty at the weekends. The cost of better police protection must be paid if the cult of “bodgie” lawlessness is to be stamped out before it leads to more serious crime. Organisations interested in the welfare of youths can help. Many young people would not crowd into the city every weekend looking for entertainment if life in their  own suburbs offered them more interests and entertainment where they have no playing fields or social clubs they are tempted to form themselves into gangs or pushes. But those are not reasons for treating them leniently when they take to violence and vandalism.


Courier Mail Wednesday 17 July 1957

Letter to the Editor

“I faced bodgie pack on train”

        Two months ago on the 7.5pm Ferny Grove City train, two youths, after much lurid language, punched a boy until he bled. I intervened when a third member of the pack was about to punch the boy. The hoodlums resented my “interference,” adopted a menacing attitude, threatened me, and invited me to meet them on the last carriage. Apparently he was afraid to report the attack. This fear is apparently the reason why these “packs” can continue so successfully. When my son was recently attacked by a different pack he was warned against notifying the police. Grovely is a new suburb and populated by many decent law abiding citizens and their families. Since it has been developed by the State Housing Commission, it has a big youth problem. I consider a youth centre an absolute must. Teenage boys and girls congregate in their leisure hours around hamburger “joints” or cafes at night. At weekends they gather around the outskirts of the suburb or creek banks, or play “chicken” on the main Samford Road with passing motorists. Most of their actions appear to be done to relieve boredom. Their clothes and general behaviour are a form of exhibitionism, possibly resulting from inadequate home training. Any money or effort spent in building and maintaining a youth centre would pay dividends in building decent citizens.

James Malcolm,

34 Pearse Street,


[In the Criminal Court last Wednesday Mr. Justice Philp sentenced Brian Denis Anderson, 17, of Hogan Street, Grovely to a year’s hard labour for assaulting James Richard Malcolm, 18, student, of Pearse Street, Grovely, on a train on June 7, 1957, causing him bodily harm. Ed.]


Courier Mail Wednesday 17 July 1957

Letter to the Editor

“Here’s a Public Whipper”

        Drastic action is called for to deal with the bodgie cult. If numerically, the Police Force is inadequate to undertake the task, or its personnel are prevented by higher authority, or are afraid to attempt to remove this scum from our midst, then it is time that the power to handle the situation was delegated to people to do the policeman’s job for him. Give me a dozen men with similar views to those I hold on the subject, give us the sanction of the law, and I am prepared to start a crusade that will put the fear of God into any party of louts we find disturbing the peace. In one month, with or without blackjacks, we would have the dingo packs broken up completely. Doubts were expressed in the Press recently on being able to find one man in Brisbane willing to take on the position of Public Whipper to cope with the menace. I am prepared to act in this capacity in full view of the public, without charge, and with all the physical force that I can muster.

R. Munro,

55 McIlwraith Avenue,



Courier Mail Wednesday 17 July 1957

Letter to the Editor

YMCA Aid Offered

        The YMCA of Brisbane aggress with the views expressed by Grovely Resident (Courier Mail 16 July 1957) on bodgie-ism.

        The YMCA is willing to form a youth club in the Grovely area but additional leaders and finance will be required.

        We hope to meet the shortage of youth leaders both in our own and other youth organisations as a result of the Basic Youth Leadership classes to be held at the YMCA, but public financial support will be required.

        This Association receives no Government grant. A youth club will need a hall and equipment, and possibly a part time Secretary. Should the residents of Grovely and adjoining districts be interested in forming such a club we should be happy to depute a representative of our organisation to meet and help them.

Sidney Smith,

Public Relations Officer,

Young Men’s Christian Association,



Courier Mail Wednesday 17 July 1957

Will Wipe out Louts on Trains

By our Police Reporter

        The Railway Department and Police yesterday promised early action to stamp out a wave of bodgie larrikinism on Brisbane suburban trains. Special detectives and railway inspectors will travel on the trains at night. But further details of the “anti-bodgie” plans are being kept secret. Police and railway inspectors will probably concentrate on trains leaving the city after hotels close at 10pm and after the last theatre session. A special watch will be kept during nights when there have been jazz concerts or performances by visiting American entertainers. Senior police last night said it would be impossible for plainclothes men to travel on every suburban train at night. They said that delinquents had to be caught making a disturbance before action could be taken. But many bodgie leaders made it their business to know detectives by sight and behaved perfectly if they suspected that a policeman was on the train. The Police Commissioner (Mr. Harold) said yesterday that a special campaign was being planned to deal with travelling hooligans. Criminal Investigation Branch chief (Mr. F. E. Bischof) said recent reports of hooliganism among youths on suburban trains were receiving close attention. Detectives recently had travelled on night trains to Ferny Grove and other routes. Other detectives in recent months had ridden on bus routes to two bayside resorts following complaints of wild behaviour by travelling youths.


Courier Mail Thursday 18 July 1957

Letters to the Editor

“Police Stockwhip tamed Push”

        Much as been written and said lately of the bodgie element in our midst. I would like to add my voice to the many who have been raising their voices when they should have been raising their hands and lowering them swiftly where it would have done the most good. During and after the Depression I was a member of a larrikin push. At night my parents being under the impression I was at a friends place; we used to congregate at street corners and talk, and for a diversion, invade the domain of another push and clean them up. A certain policeman was posted to our district. From that day forward, we became a bunch of neurotics. Mounted on a horse and armed with a stockwhip, he ranged far and wide using boot and whip to such an extent that the sound of the horses’ hooves was sufficient to cause the whole bunch of us to take off like a flock of pigeons. There’s your answer to the bodgies of today. We were pretty tough, and not an effeminate bunch of half-men like today’s bodgies, and yet we were tamed and brought to heel. Foot and mounted policeman on one push bike with orders to use the toe of the boot on their backside, and see how the problem is solved.

“Ex Nineteen Thirty Larrikin”



Courier Mail Thursday 18 July 1957

Letters to the Editor

“Only Bloodshed”

        Granted that a serious situation does exist in this matter of juvenile delinquency, for which the “Bodgie Cult” seems to bear the brunt of the blame, surely any sane approach to the problem must be made without violence, and with some attempt at understanding these people. L. R. Munro (Courier Mail 17 July 1957) and others like him want to combat violence with more violence. What about going to those people on their own ground, speaking their language, and listening to them for a change? Mr. Munro’s way can only lead to bloodshed.

R. J. Humphries,

Moray Street,

New Farm.


Courier Mail Thursday 18 July 1957

Letters to the Editor

“Try Whipping"

Splendid, Mr. Munro (Courier Mail 17 July 1957). Give whipping an undisciplined trial for six months.

“High Time”



Courier Mail Thursday 18 July 1957

Letters to the Editor

“Lash Nauseating”

        Hazel Smith (Courier Mail 12 July 1957) says that crime is a disease. That is true only where a person is mentally sick. Is the mass murder that we call war a disease too? Talk about using the lash on juvenile delinquents is nauseating, especially when there are crime films, crime comics, and radio sessions whose themes are based on murder, and the rest of the vile rubbish. More playing fields and youth clubs are needed.

Bill Jones,

160 Wharf Street,



Courier Mail Thursday 18 July 1957

Letters to the Editor

“Chicken Horn”

        We have been plagued with “annoyance” telephone calls, late at night, and especially weekends. If the receiver is taken up, the howler would be put through immediately. We now have a new “annoyance.” A “chicken” horn blown at our gate by four louts and a Chinese boy. On investigating they ride away screaming out insults and “chicken.”

“Another Victim”

Krupp Road,

Cannon Hill.


Courier Mail Thursday 18 July 1957

Article- Noel Turnbull- Staff Reporter

Youth Clubs Try to Beat the Bodgie Cult


        Are youth clubs the answer to the bodgie menace? Their organisers think so. These clubs are doing a good job in some Brisbane suburbs, but in many districts like Grovely, the community spirit has not been strong enough to produce them yet. So what are they doing in Brisbane suburbs?

        Scattered around Brisbane small groups of public spirited men are accepting the challenge of the bodgie cult- to turn the energy and enthusiasm of youth into worthwhile channels. They are fighting at its source the menace that is turning decent lads into vandals and hooligans. They are the men behind the suburban youth clubs that have sprung up, particularly in the last six months.

        Through these clubs they are giving boys, and, in the larger clubs, girls too, an active interest, which keeps them off the streets- the danger zone.

        Three clubs have actually recruited members from among bodgies in milk bars and on the streets. The need for these clubs is emphasized by the large number of youngsters seeking membership of the Young Men’s Christian Association and the Police Citizens’ Youth Clubs at Lang Park and Woolloongabba. All have waiting lists. Some clubs are small- not because young people are standoffish but because the organisers are short of adult support. The club’s big needs are money and leaders. Public support would provide both.

        Take the Zillmere Athletic and Boxing Club, an example of a keen young club with little finance, but enthusiastic supporters. Officially it began about 3 months ago. Before that the organiser, 39 year old wood machinist Tommy Smith, had been coaching a few boys at boxing in the kitchen of his home. When the number got to about 18, Tommy says that his wife put a stop to it in the house, so the club was formed. All the initial equipment was bought by Tommy himself and now the boys’ fathers are building a small gymnasium in Tommy’s backyard. The number of members has grown to about 40 and they meet five nights a week in the backyard under floodlights.

        Tommy is really proud of his boys. One of them, 18 year old German lad, Roland Herburg, has been selected in a Brisbane team to attend a boxing tournament in Mackay next month.

        At Wynnum, Rotary, Lions, and Apex Clubs have taken up the matter of a youth club and have organised functions to provide finance. They have close to £700 now. A Wynnum accountant, Mr. J. W. McMaster, says that the committee at present organising the club hopes to build a club house, open at all times to the boys of the district.

        Out at Brookfield, a solid little club is slowly getting under way. It was started by Mr. J. Birkett in February after another he had formed at Indooroopilly failed. It now has about 50 members and meets three nights a week.

        Chermside Club started by Valley policeman Les Sampson, has 400 members. It began 18 months ago as a football team. The club has more than £200 worth of equipment, but as yet no headquarters. It is trying to obtain a lease of Annand Park from the Brisbane City Council to build a club and other facilities.

        Youngest club, Bardon, just four weeks old already has 140 members. It was formed by the Bardon RSL and meets two nights a week in the Memorial Hall. President Ian Mathams says that the club has a policy that all groups will be mixed. They consider that having groups for boys and others fro girls makes teenagers lose interest.

        The 40 members of the Kedron Boys’ Boxing Club have a proud record- of 300 fights the boys have had at tournaments, they have won 175. The club was formed in a garage 18 months ago. It now has a gym of its own. A former club member Don Starr was a State amateur title holder.

        The two most progressive clubs in Brisbane are at Inala and Nundah, both formerly notorious bodgie hangouts. In 2 years the Inala Club has grown from 17 members  at its initial meeting to more than 600 now. It began at a time when Inala’s youngsters had a bad name for vandalism. The club now has both boys and girls as members. Its activities cover all manner of sport and drama and discussion groups. The club plans a special club hall costing about £15000 to £20,000.  It will contain modern gymnastic equipment, an up to date library, swimming pool, and playing room.

        The Nundah Club is the largest and oldest of all. It has branches at Hendra, Kedron, Banyo, and Northgate, as well as the original club at Nundah. All told there are about 1900 on the membership roll. It was started about 10 years ago by Norm Yuill, a totally and permanently incapacitated ex-serviceman as a hobby to fill in time. Norm was seriously injured during the war in Dutch New Guinea. He has been steadily building up the club and its many branches. He is now working on a plan to open at Stafford. He also plans to get a club moving at Sandgate. Each branch has several individual clubs, for different age groups and activities, which meet on different nights of the week.


Courier Mail Friday 19 July 1957

Letters to the Editor

“Scouts, Churches battle at Grovely”

        Letters stressing Grovely’s lack of facilities for its youth have omitted to mention what has and is being done by the Boy Scouts Association and church bodies. Commissioner Jackson last Saturday week opened a hut in Baker Road. This was the result of three years hard effort by a numerically small but keen committee, aided by city and local business firms, but with negligible cooperation from the boys’ parents. Two Sunday Schools have been held now for several years in private homes or in the open air, while the sponsors are struggling to build churches. The Progress Association has been balked for years because out of all the nearby vacant ground not a single acre could be taken over by it. The Housing Commission in a rather hypocritical statement said that owing to the acute shortage of building materials a few years ago, none could be spared for halls and such like, and it would be the responsibility of residents to erect them. Such logic at the time was accepted but when bodies I have mentioned above applied for land to build their own hall or church none was available. Since then rubbish dumps are appearing where public buildings could have been and Grovely youth are reaping a harvest of scorn and ridicule.

N. A. F. Pitman,

15 Booker Street,



Courier Mail Friday 19 July 1957

Brisbane’s 800 metropolitan police were told this week to wipe out all forms of bodgie lawbreaking.

        Police officers consider that district police, not roving patrols, are best capable of checking the bodgie cult at its source. The force will use “no quarter” tactics if necessary. Metropolitan police, knowing their own district, will be able to check out bodgies most closely. This week they began meeting late night trains at suburban stations and terminuses. They will be ready to pounce following any reports of lawlessness on trains. Bodgie “hangouts” hamburger stalls, cafes, dance halls, and street corners, will receive special and regular attention.


Courier Mail Saturday 20 July 1957


It’s Our Fault

Bodgies and their ways have been in the news all this week. Some of them are public nuisances, using violence and drifting into crime. But the fault is primarily the whole community’s. We have failed to give them something better to do, and the means to do it.


Courier Mail Tuesday 23 July 1957

£5 fine on bodgie

Toowoomba: “You are one of a bunch of half baked bodgie exhibitionists,” Mr. D. J. Kearney, SM., told Stewart Jeffries, 18, of Lydwin Street, in the Petty Sessions Court in Toowoomba yesterday. “If you characters think that you are going to take control of Ruthven Street on Sunday afternoons, you are badly mistaken. We have cleaned up bigger gangs than yours in the past and  the police will have no trouble in dealing with you,” he said. Mr. Kearney fined Jeffries £5, in default 28 days jail, on a charge of having driven a motor cycle with a pillion rider while not being the holder of a licence for one year.


Courier Mail Wednesday 24 July 1957

Letters to the Editor

Soldier at 16 asks why baby bodgies?

Juvenile outlawry emanates from the school playground. The smashing of school furniture lately seems to have been copied from films depicting jail rioting. To call bodgies and car wreckers, who may be 16, 17, or 18 years of age, “juvenile” seems absurd to me. I enlisted as a British soldier at 16, and was doing Buckingham Palace and Tower guard duty at 17. Offending bodgies should be given stiff terms at a special place of correction. There should also be special plain clothes police to deal with the rowdy element. On a recent journey from South Brisbane to Kuraby, I took large lumps of coal from a rough gang of schoolboys who were sadistically enjoying throwing them at the track maintenance men they passed.

Frank H. Cole,

73 Tramore Street,


Courier Mail Wednesday 24 July 1957

Letters to the Editor


Brisbane adults are partly to blame for the behaviour of the bodgie element. There is a lack of sports areas, and youth organisations and the adults have been disinterested in the welfare of the younger people. Since the war unscrupulous people have found it profitable to exploit teenagers. It is the public that allows the importation and publication of cheap, shocking films, over suggestive songs, trashy comics, and obscene magazines. Film and censorship boards are farcical. Look at any magazine stand. Go to any cinema with an adults only programme. Most bodgies and widgies are by the standards of many countries uneducated. It takes more than parental control and organised sport to make intelligent and discerning beings. Our antiquated educational system is at the root of many a trouble. There are not enough schools and interested teachers. Education should be entirely free and compulsory until 16 at least.

Margaret Ducker,

Aged 22,

Ferny Avenue,

Surfers Paradise.


Courier Mail Wednesday 24 July 1957

Letters to the Editor

“Bring in Police”

Our very efficient police force is hopelessly inadequate to combat successfully the ever-growing bodgie menace. It is obvious that the police cannot hope to attract enough recruits locally, so why not establish a migration scheme to bring to Queensland at least 1000 young men from the United Kingdom and Ireland to bolster our force.

G. Graham,

Fraser Street,


Courier Mail Wednesday 24 July 1957

Letters to the Editor


I am a Briton, born and bred in Egypt. When I came here 10 years ago, I was shocked to see how children are spoiled in this country. Toys are waiting for them before they are born, and as they grow older, they have all kinds of sports, swimming pools, bicycles, lollies, icecreams, cinemas.

        At 14 they expect their parents to buy them a motor scooter or a motor cycle, at 16 or 18 a car etc. When they reach their teens they are already blasé. They turn to sadism, crime and sex orgies. I do not approve of Hitlerism or fascism, but they had one good thing in wiping out teenage delinquency – the army which employed recruits on public works. Jails, reform schools, whipping, will leave a stigma for delinquents, entertainments will make them worse. Hard work is the only workable solution.

Mrs. A. Vaughan,

46 Oxley Drive,


Courier Mail Wednesday 24 July 1957

Letters to the Editor

“Blame Rock”

There is obviously a close relation between the cult of jive (or rock ‘n’ roll) and the present wave of juvenile delinquency. In watching the rockers, one is struck by the stark primitive savagery of the devotees mesmerized by erotic rhythm.

        The solution is in the eradication of the cult by the whole of the civilized community. Parents should reason with the juveniles; if that is ineffective, they should attck the savage mystic force with a weighty belt. Let boys and girls dance by all means. I would appeal to dance promoters and band leaders: Leave out the “deep down beat-up stuff” that ruffles the emotions of the kids; give them the clean happy four to the bar. A happy kid is a good kid.



Courier Mail Wednesday 24 July 1957

A teenage bodgie who police said had worked only three days this year, was jailed yesterday for six weeks with hard labour. Mr. Fowler, SM, told Trevor William Bostock, 17, unemployed, that this jail sentence might help him mend his ways. Bostock, who pleaded guilty in the Police Court to a vagrancy charge- having insufficient lawful means of support- had told Mr. Fowler that he would like to settle down with his parents.

        The magistrate told him that police had given him many opportunities. It was too late now. It was the first case of a “bodgie” being jailed for vagrancy since the all out police drive on them began. Detective Sub Inspector Donovan (prosecutor) said that Bostock first came under the notice of the Criminal Investigation Branch a year ago because of his association with the “bodgie” element about city streets.

        Detectives had warned him to get a job and cease spending his time in hotels.

        At 11.30am on Monday, Detective Sergeant F. D. Gorman and Detective J. J. O’Connor located him in a city hotel drinking with others unfavourably known to the police. Their inquiries showed that he had worked only three days this year. He had been existing on handouts from his widowed mother and married sister. His mother had to get casual work to supplement her widow’s pension. The prosecutor said that Bostock’s mother was unable to persuade him to get a job and he seemed content to live a life of idleness with his “bodgie” associates. Bostock’s mother wept in court when her son was taken to the Watchhouse cells to await the prison van to take him to Boggo Road jail.

Courier Mail Wednesday 24 July 1957

Bullen’s Circus will pen in Musgrave Park on 1 August 1957.

Courier Mail Thursday 25 July 1957

Mayor to Call Public Meetings to Outwit Bodgies


The Lord Mayor, Alderman Groom, in a bid to outwit bodgie lawlessness, proposes a big public meeting in the City Hall, and suburban meetings to promote interest in youth movements.

        These meetings are expected to result from the special meeting he has called for tonight in the City Hall of organisations interested in youth. He believes that juvenile delinquency can be curbed by strong public backing of youth clubs and youth organisations.

        “We want to create for youth an atmosphere in which the bodgie will not flourish,” Alderman Groom said yesterday. He has the backing of the police. Response to his invitations to tonight’s meeting has been enthusiastic. Alderman Groom said yes his aim in calling the meeting was to discuss how to increase public interest in youth work. The Police Commissioner (Mr. Harold) and the Chief of the Brisbane Criminal Investigation Branch (Inspector  Bischof) will attend. Organisations represented would include church youth organisations, Police and Citizens’ Welfare Association, Young Men’s Christian Association, Young Women’s Christian Association, Boy Scouts Association, Girl Guides Association, Playground Association, National Fitness Council, and Rotary and Apex Clubs.

        Alderman Groom said that tonight’s meeting would consider holding a big public meeting in the City Hall concert hall of parents and others interested in the welfare of youth. This would emphasise to the public the importance of satisfactory youth clubs, well equipped in leadership, space and materials. In these clubs there would be no lack of worthwhile activity to keep a youth occupied. Alderman Groom said that it was likely that the big meeting would be followed by others in suburbs where the need for greater support for youth clubs work was realised.

        Meanwhile Brisbane police claim that their “get tough” policy with bodgies is showing results.

        Criminal Investigation Branch Chief (Inspector Frank Bischof) said yesterday that several known bodgies had called on him to tell him that they had broken their association with the bodgie cult. Inspector Bischof said that the change of heart was mainly due to police action and the recent jail sentences imposed on bodgies and their associates in Brisbane courts.

        Two bodgies and a girl, who was said to have associated with bodgies, have received jail sentences in the last fortnight in Brisbane.

        One bodgie who attacked a schoolboy on a Brisbane train was sent to  jail for a year and another received a six weeks sentence because he refused to work.

        Yesterday an 18 year old girl was sentenced to six weeks jail for vagrancy. Police said that she was associating with bodgies when she was arrested.

        Inspector Bischof said that there had been a noticeable reduction in the number of bodgies congregating on street corners and in milk bars in Brisbane.

Courier Mail Friday 26 July 1957

Groom’s Meeting Plans Ahead to meet Youth Problem


        A public meeting of parents and others interested in the development and improvement of youth welfare organisations in Brisbane will be held at the City Hall on Monday the 5th August 1957.

        This was decided at a meeting of representatives of youth organisations called by the Lord Mayor (Alderman Groom) last night.

        Alderman Groom had called the meeting because of the growing bodgie menace in Brisbane. The meeting elected a committee of seven to organise the public meeting.

        Youth leaders, including an internationally known athlete, will speak on youth activities and their importance.

Alderman Groom said last night: “The meeting will emphasize the need for leadership in youth activity, the need for good men and women trained for their job. The job of youth clubs is not merely to eliminate bodgie-ism, but to ensure that the greater number of our youth has the chance to become good citizens.

Courier Mail Monday 29 July 1957

Bodgie Threat Beaten

Street corner and milk bar congregations of Brisbane bodgies and widgies are disappearing. The Police Commissioner (Mr. T. W. Harold) said last night that this was “the dividend of a firm but fatherly approach by police to Brisbane’s bodgies.”

“Police went up to these young people, gave them a talking to, and in most cases received cooperation,” Mr. Harold said.

The police blitz on bodgies began 10 days ago following a flood of public complaints about bodgie viciousness.

Mr. Harold said last night that policemen had not taken any drastic action and made only two arrests- both for failure to observe a reasonable police direction in regard to pedestrian traffic. He said that police had been instructed to adopt the role of “firm advisers.”

“I am quite satisfied now that having taken that line of action, no one will be worried by bodgies for a long time,” Mr. Harold said. “We were caught unawares but we have the matter in hand now.”

Mr. Harold said that police would continue their vigilance. Mr. Harold said that during the blitz, uniformed police had made frequent checks on hotel bars and had virtually rid the city of teenage drinking. Train larrikinism had also been virtually stamped out.

Courier Mail Tuesday 30 July 1957

Letters to the Editor

Policeman’s Act Shock

I was greatly shocked to read (Courier Mail 27July 1957) that one of the contestants in the Yul Brynner competition was a Roma Street police constable. This is a type of exhibitionism and almost a degrading experience. It is not to be expected from a member of the police force who surely should set some standard of decorum and behaviour to our youth.

Bodgies and bodgie-ism is, in great part, exhibitionism in clothing, and hair styles, and behaviour, and I am sure that a policeman with a “shaved” head (for the reward of £10 and a razor) would not command much respect. We parents and sane citizens expect the Police Chiefs to instruct young constables not to take part in such displays of foolishness, and this does not mean that they are disciplinarians without a sense of humour.

“Ascot Mother.”

Courier Mail Wednesday 24 July 1957

Letters to the Editor

“Dances as a Help”

“Blame Rock” (Courier Mail 24 July 1957) gives one of the reasons which force young people to frequent cafes and milk bars. If young people can’t jive or dance, as they please, under suitable supervision, in halls, at school and church dances, then where are they to go? They go to cafes and milk bars where they can hear the music they like from juke boxes. Perhaps it wasn’t so long ago that many of the self styled judges of teenage behaviour used to Charleston and “go to town” themselves. If elder people listened to modern music with an ear to pleasure rather than criticism, they might find that all this “stark primitive savagery” is rather over-exaggerated.

Peter L. Harton,



Courier Mail Wednesday 24 July 1957

“Dress Properly” Order to Bodgies

By our Police Roundsman

“Report back with your hair cut and dressed respectably” is the latest police move in civilising Brisbane’s bodgies.

        In past weeks, several bodgies detained by police have been given 24 hours to become respectable. Last week, a group of bodgies- all under 21- were detained and questioned by police after they created a disturbance in a suburban hotel. Their names and addresses were taken. They were given 24 hours to have their hair cut and dress decently. Next day they reported back to the police station with hair cuts and decent clothes.

        Police, both uniformed and plain clothes, are continuing their drive in city and suburban hotels cleaning out teenage drinkers. The drive is proving effective.

Courier Mail Monday 5 August 1957

Letters to the Editor

“Bodgies on the Beaches”

With the approach of warmer weather, Sandgate and Shorncliffe can expect to suffer from the influx of bodgies , widgies, and hooligans, who will again clutter our beaches. In the past, regular police patrols have kept this menace under control, but apparently have now been discontinued. The gathering clans of youths around picture shows and the beach fronts and the increase in vandalism and destruction of trees, testify to their appreciation of relaxed police action. Sandgate, more than any other Brisbane suburb, needs police patrols because its beaches and wooded foreshores attract others as well as its own lawless elements.

“More Prevention”


Courier Mail Monday 5 August 1957

Start of Bodgie Drive

        A public meeting in the City Hall tonight would consider just how serious the bodgie trouble was in Brisbane, the Lord Mayor Alderman Groom, said last night. The meeting, which begins at 8pm, was called by a committee of youth leaders headed by Alderman Groom.

        Alderman Groom said that the youngsters concerned were not a vicious and depraved section of the community that could be cured only with a stock whip. There may be a few among them like that, but the police can be relied upon to deal with them,” he said. “We are concerned about the ones who are leaving school to find that they have a great deal of leisure and no idea what to do with it.”


Courier Mail Tuesday 6 August 1957

Grave Need to Keep Young Delinquents in Hand, said Lord Mayor

        The question of delinquent youth in Brisbane was not as serious as might have been thought, the Lord Mayor (Alderman Groom) said last night. But there was a grave need for steps to be taken to ensure that it did not become a serious matter, he said.

        Alderman Groom was addressing a meeting which he convened in the City Hall to discuss means of combating juvenile delinquency. More than 600 people attended the meeting. Alderman Groom said that there had been “some semi-hysterical” discussion about the need for stock whips and the resurrection of the stocks. “It is obvious to a great many people that this is a rather foolish summation of the situation,” he said. “Really I think that the youth of this city are a bit of an improvement on what our parents were at the time I was a youth. But we have deprived the youth of today of the things we had- the open paddocks, the creeks, the flat open patches of land where we could play cricket, or football. This problem cannot be tackled in wishy washy fashion. It is the job for the families.”


Courier Mail Monday 5 August 1957

Bodgie Gangs Broken up in Theatres

Broadbeach: Segregation of bodgies and widgies in theatres was urged yesterday at the Queensland Motion Pictures Exhibitors Convention. Suggestions to stop larrikinism in theatres were advanced by Cairns delegate, Mr. W. Moloney. “In Cairns and other North Queensland towns, we have practically stamped  out in theatres unruly behaviour by the bodgies and widgie elements,” he said. “We have found that the best plan is to segregate them- not put them in stalls in a group, but close to an exit and under the eye of a door keeper. And the effective way to break up gangs is to ban some of the ringleaders for short periods. Since we did this, there has been a marked improvement in their behaviour.”


Courier Mail Monday 5 August 1957

“Sport Would Help Stamp Out Bodgies”

        More swimming pools, playing fields, and cultural facilities would go a long way towards controlling the bodgie menace, the Commonwealth Health Director in Queensland (Dr. D. A. Dowling) said yesterday.

        “We have to ensure that young people are given plenty to occupy their minds,” he said.

        Dr. Dowling was addressing the Health Inspectors Association Conference on the value of physical education.

        `”These bodgies are nothing new,” he said. “We had the larrikin pushes 50 or more years ago. Activities of these present day youths are very similar. Apart from police action there was probably nothing much that could be done with those in whom ‘bodgie-ism’ had become established. However, there was a great field open for preventative measures in the way of outdoor exercise for youths.”

        Dr. Dowling said that swimming pools throughout the State particularly in Brisbane, were grossly inadequate. “Brisbane had not had a new pool for 30 years.”


Courier Mail Monday 5 August 1957

“I Did Not Hear a Solution

By a Teenager

        Last night I attended the public meeting in the City Hall on the juvenile delinquency problem in Brisbane.

        Despite many suggestions by the seven speakers, I did not hear one concrete proposal given by any speaker that would make me wish to join a youth organisation. I gained three main impressions from last nights meeting:

1.               That finances for all youth organisations were in a sorry state;

2.               That youth organisations had a grave shortage of leaders;

3.               That parents were not supporting the existing youth organisations as they should be doing.

The problem of actually attracting me as a teenager to such organisations therefore was very great. I now realise that if I did become a member of some club, I would spend a lot of my leisure time working hard to keep the club running, I also realised that even with all the leaders available in Brisbane, I would not necessarily keep “on the rails”. Lastly if my parents were not interested enough to support my club, then I may as well get out of it. This last problem was given a great deal of attention by most speakers.

Courier Mail Monday 5 August 1957

Lady Cilento, prominent Queensland doctor and social worker, has warned that one cause of today’s juvenile delinquency was the prevalence of working mothers.


Courier Mail Friday 9 August 1957

RNA Show Police Exhibit

Weapons of bodgies on show at the Police Display at the RNA Show this year, confiscated  from Brisbane bodgies, are among exhibits of articles recovered by police at the scenes of notorious Queensland crimes. The bodgies weapons on display include a spring loaded knife and home made stilettos and knuckle dusters.


Courier Mail Wednesday 14 August 1957

Bodgies Held Sales of Goods They Stole

    Bodgies from Chermside had been stealing clothing in city and suburban stores and holding “bargain sales” among themselves, the Police Court was told yesterday. They had stolen clothes and “swapped” them for motor cycle parts, the Court was told. Six youths, described as “members of the Chermside bodgie element,” pleaded guilty to charges of stealing, or of receiving stolen good.

    Sub Inspector Donovan said: “Police have established that the larrikin element at Chermside had been stealing from the Chermside DriveIn and from city stores and then holding bargain sales at Chermside and selling the goods to each other. One bodgie had not worked for several months and had been living on money given to him by his widowed mother and by widgies with whom he associated.


Courier Mail Friday 9 August 1957

        Poultrymen said yesterday that bodgies were endangering prize poultry exhibits at the Brisbane RNA Show.

        Attendants in the poultry section have declared war on the bodgies. Yesterday they took up positions at vantage points in the Poultry Pavilion to watch for bodgies.

        This followed raids by bodgies on cages occupied by some prize poultry exhibits.

        They said that bodgies had opened the cages and taken out newly laid eggs, and pocketed them.

        “They have given us a lot of trouble with only a few hundred people here,” one attendant said, “so tomorrow (People’s Day) they will be here in droves. We’ll need a couple of policemen.”

        He said that four bodgies were caught stealing eggs from the cages on Monday. Attendants were on the alert yesterday and trapped others. The attendants said that when they caught bodgies with eggs in their pockets, they slapped their pockets or bumped them “to teach them a lesson.”

        A bodgie caught with his hand in a cage yesterday was “run out” of the Poultry Pavilion.

        Attendants were placed at the entrance to the Poultry Pavilion all day and also mixed with the crowds inside. They screened all visitors and “trailed” all youths dressed in bodgie clothes.


Courier Mail Saturday 24 August 1957

Moral Needs of Bodgies

An Anglican Church committee has criticized as “inadequate” some of the solutions being offered to meet Brisbane’s bodgie problem. Their report said that playing fields and youth clubs are good, but by themselves they cannot meet the real need. At bottom the problem is a spiritual and moral one, and often goes back to the lack of positive religion in the home.

                The report said that a sharp distinction had to be drawn between “really criminal bodgies and the much larger number of young people who imitate the bodgie style of dress, but who in no sense are to be regarded as criminal.”

        The report called on church people to come forward to provide the right sort of leadership for church youth organisations. It agreed that the lack of effective Christian leadership was hindering youth organisations from doing really valuable work.


Courier Mail Wednesday 14 August 1957

At the Regent in town, James Dean was starring in “Rebel Without a Cause”


Courier Mail Monday 2 September 1957

Clubs “not full answer” to bodgies

        Youth clubs were not the complete answer to the bodgie and widgie problem, a British Youth Welfare Worker claimed in Brisbane last night.

        She is Miss Elisabeth Garling, who is near the end of a 12 months bursary funded study tour of Australian Youth Organisations.

        Miss Garling said that she did not think that youth clubs could help the “really bad members of the cult.”

        “They are a much greater social and psychological problem than that. But with many bodgies and widgies it was merely a matter of ‘sharp dressing.’ Well organised Youth clubs could assist by providing them with an outlet for recreational activities.


Courier Mail Wednesday 4 September 1957

Traffic Police on Bodgie Patrol

        Traffic police were doing plain clothes patrol duty in main city streets to clean up bodgie motor cyclists, the Police Prosecutor told the Traffic Court yesterday. They were clamping down on bodgies on a “technicality,” failure to park their motor cycles parallel to the kerb.

        Two youths described as “bodgie” were each fined £3 in default seven days jail for wrongly parking their motor cycles.

        Senior Sergeant Spada said that plain clothes traffic police patrolled Queen Street because of the youth’s behaviour. He said that the youths went around “like a pack of dingoes” and rode up and down the street making a nuisance of themselves. They parked their motor cycles “just anyhow.”


Courier Mail Friday 6 September 1957

A 14 year old Sydney school who eloped to Brisbane with her 17 year old boyfriend, yesterday described her bodgie dressed boyfriend as “just a sheep in wolf’s clothing.

        The couple told the police that they ran away on the spur of the moment and out of a spirit of adventure.

        Margaret Dye, dressed in a tight knit skirt and a jumper, looked at her drape coated escort, Robert Hawkins, 17, and said: “We don’t think that we are a bodgie and a widgie although other people do. All the young people dress like this in Sydney.

        Margaret was due to be returned to her parents in Sydney by the police.







Courier Mail Wednesday 15 January 1958

A Brisbane disc jockey said last night he would smash his Elvis Presley records. He is Alex Shiren of the Courier Mail station  4BK. The disc jockey said he would follow the lead of an American radio station KWK, in St. Louis, which is staging a revolt against rock ‘n’ roll. The US station is playing each “rock” record from its library once, then breaking it with a sharp snap audible to listeners. Shiren said: “This is a good one. I am heartily sick of my Elvis Presley discs- I’ll play them and break them next Saturday night in ‘Party Time’.


The manager of 4BH (Mr. C. Carson) said yesterday that rock ‘n’ roll was on its way out in Brisbane. Our station cancelled a Tuesday night session which was mainly this music because we thought it was beginning to affront a lot of adults. “Only a rowdy, noisy minority mainly teenagers, clamour for it now,” Mr. Carson said.


The 4BK Studio Manager (Mr. D. Magoffin) said: “I can’t stand rock ‘n’ roll. But we’ve got to be tolerant. There’s always a current teenager craze in music- the Charleston, jazz, swing, and now rock ‘n’ roll. I’d give it another six months.”


Courier Mail Thursday 16 January 1958


“R. G. Jenkins (Courier Mail 14 January 1958) as well as many others, has just gone too far in expressing his dislike for rock ‘n’ roll music. This time it is ‘Diana’ by Paul Anka. It seems that the latest craze with some “grown ups” is to write to the papers every time they hear a new rock ‘n’ roll song. Yet, I never hear them grumbling about the tripe “sung” by Sinatra and co., which is enough to send anyone crazy. If. P. G. Jenkins does not like ‘Diana,’ then why listen to it. There are other radio stations to listen to.”

Noel Williams, 1 Lamrock Street, Holland Park.


“Why play the rubbish.

Rock ‘n’ roll has rhyme but no reason. These simple tunes often romp along with catchy beat and cadence, but their rhythms are as primitive as any fundamental actions, and very often, just as vulgar. The lyrics of these musical nursery rhymes are without syntax or prose. However, rock 'n' roll and all other forms of bodgie music have their own noisy following. However, for disc jockeys to object publicly to those offending rhythms and their rude exponents is mere exhibitionism. Better not to play those offending trifles when there is so much else wholesome in the world of song.”

Terence Lambert. 54 Denman Street, Greenslopes.

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